Hilger BROTKunsthalle, Vienna
L.A.-based artist Shepard Fairey became a household name when he lent his skills to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008, for which he created the now iconic ‘HOPE’ poster. Within the art world, his readily identifiable works – whether situated on the street, in the gallery, or taking the form of merchandise under his label OBEY – have long before enjoyed a strong following. He started his career as a Street Artist while attending the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design. The inception of ‘André the Giant’ falls into these early years, the black and white image based on the famous wrestler’s face, which then started to appear in the form of stickers and stencils throughout the city. This portrait, reduced to basic outlines, still plays a central role in Fairey’s work to date.
In his studio work, the artist skillfully blends stencils, photographs, collages and paint, while staying true to the reduced color palette of his street pieces. Rarely incorporating more than three colors, it is Fairey’s signature red that predominantly features in his work.
The artist’s first solo museum show took place at the renowned Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (2009), and his work has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world. Despite the critical acclaim from the institutional art world, Fairey remains true to his roots and regularly works on street pieces around the globe.