If you live in Providence, Rhode Island, you probably know who Shepard Fairey is. And if you don’t know the name, you’ve at least seen the Andree The Giant stickers around the city. Shepard is a RISD Graduate, contemporary artist, graphic designer and illustrator who is known worldwide for his “André the Giant Has a Posse” sticker campaign. Currently he operates Obey Giant, a successful design firm with a recognizable style. He designed the new Led Zeppelin album cover for Mothership.
We would see Shepard around town and just knew him as that Andree The Giant guy. My memorable run-in happened at Geoffs, a local sandwich shop. Shepard came in, very agitated, telling us “The mayor is really pissed. I have to go take down the Andre face” off Cianci’s billboard. Sure enough, right down the hill, was the largest Andre face we had seen yet, completely covering Cianci’s face. I found this online:
Fairey tackled his first large-scale operation in 1991, during the mayoral election in Providence. As part of a school assignment (!), Shepard plastered a four foot Andre face on then-candidate Vincent “Buddy” Cianci’s billboard advertisement. To Shepard’s surprise, this created quite a stir in the local media, as people apparently thought some industrious rebel was commenting on Cianci’s Mafia connections. That’s when Shepard realized that people’s innate curiosity could catapult OTG into something much bigger than a facetious inside joke. If a simple 15 minute installation could receive attention from the media and at the same time force a few people to reevaluate their opinions, then why not push the project to it’s most absurd boundaries?
The posters here are Shepards awesome Obama prints.
Happy Presidents Day.