Posted on October 08 2014
OBEY 25th Anniversary Collection
“When I made the first OBEY sticker in 1989 I never thought I was beginning a project that would inspire and permeate most of my art career for the next 25 years and counting. At 19 I had no idea what I would be doing a week later much less a decade or two. Putting up stickers was fun and that was enough to get the ball rolling. The act of getting out there for the journey without a brilliant plan or destination opened my eyes to the world as a participant and not a voyeur. Part of the success of OBEY Giant has been its organic evolution based on my constant dialogue with the public and broadening my perspective through my experiences. Rather than being constrained by OBEY Giant I’ve modelled it to reflect my personality and my interests as they’ve progressed over the years.
When I was young I bought into the typical black-and-white/ us-versus-them of things; provocation and silliness can’t mix – a job has to be drudgery whilst passion is reserved for the nights and weekends and art can’t be pure if it has commercial facets. All that began to seem less valid as very small accomplishment with OBEY Giant made it seem increasingly possible to do things my way.
It hasn’t been an easy path. Even through financial struggles, failed relationships, a lack of resources, and 16 arrests I was always determined to keep the OBEY Giant project growing. Essentially, I succeeded at building something from nothing and creating a demand for it by exploiting the semiotics of consumption.
From the beginning OBEY Giant opened my eyes to many facets of capitalism and consumer-trends psychology that revolve around supply-and-demand economic theory. Some examples (‘I want a sticker because I like the way it looks’) are relatively straightforward whilst others (‘I want a sticker because my rebellious friends have it’) reflect the complex irony of conforming to an image of rebellion to gain acceptance. The OBEY Giant images have raised many issues around the concept of value; as they gained more exposure and familiarity their value increased to marketers wishing to capitalise on the rebellious outsiders who used OBEY as a secret handshake to enter an elite club. Observing the cultural arc of OBEY Giant and the variables determining who embraced or rejected it along the way has been the most valuable aspect of the project.
I knew early on that, more than being just a vehicle for my art, commentary and mischief, OBEY Giant could provide a ‘case study’; the hardest thing was for me to decide when I had enough material to release a complete case study especially when the accumulation of art and experiences showed no sign of slowing. Keep your eyes and mind open and question everything.” – Shepard Fairey
Below is the official 25th Anniversary Video from OBEY.
Here are the images and graphics used in this collection, each one represtenting an important stage in the profession of the art work and the brand.
The OBEY 25th Anniversary Collection is now avalibale to Purchase in store.
Also available online very soon