Brain Floss: Shepard Fairey

Photo: Jon Furlong

Words by John McGuire

It all started in the late ’80s when a young East Coast skate rat, fired up and frustrated with school and rules, found tremendous creative momentum in art and skateboarding. Shepard’s life path took a wild turn onto a portentous trajectory with a crude xeroxed cut and paste sticker. What started as a visual joke only to entertain friends and mark turf, turned into an explosive commercial phenomenon. OBEY GIANT is a real creative threat on many levels. It’s a hugely successful mechanism that baffles and synthesizes the world of art and marketing. Most noted for his poster work, he has become an important part of the American cultural landscape in 2008 when he gained global exposure by creating the Obama “HOPE” poster. He was able to visually engage and inspire droves of young voters and renew their enthusiasm in a damaged democracy. A real skater success story, it seemed only appropriate to commission this artistic icon to portray and immortalize the man that is arguably the most creative, inspirational, and TWS’ Most Influential skateboarder, Mark Gonzales.