Posted: March 17, 2011 in Art, etc.

It probably hasn’t been long enough that no one remembers Andre the Giant, but for anyone that didn’t watch WWF as a kid (or see the Princess Bride), Andre the Giant was, well, a giant.

Well, in 1989 Shepard Fairey decided that Andre the Giant needed a posse. I got interested in Shepard Fairey’s art late in the game, probably around 2001 when I started to see OBEY clothing pop up in stores everywhere.

(S. Fairey)

Shepard Fairey’s rise is both interesting and inspiring, definitely worth checking out. One of the most powerful/ interesting aspects of his work, is set forth in this quote from Shepard Fairey, “The FIRST AIM OF PHENOMENOLOGY is to reawaken a sense of wonder about one’s environment. The OBEY sticker attempts to stimulate curiosity and bring people to question both the sticker and their relationship with their surroundings. Because people are not used to seeing advertisements or propaganda for which the product or motive is not obvious, frequent and novel encounters with the sticker provoke thought and possible frustration, nevertheless revitalizing the viewer’s perception and attention to detail.” So basically, he said that the sticker had no meaning other than to provoke thought (and maybe sell a few Tshirts), yet it was pasted, tagged and stuck anywhere and everywhere by people.

The description of his work as a Parody of Propoganda was my favorite, and I also liked the sound of media manipulation, but more that anything I think this “Phenomology” was my first brush with what are now thrown around as ‘viral’ images. Now that we have doped up post-dentist kids on youtube, we all know what viral means, but this image had kids out in the streets making art (albeit vandalism in some cases). In any event, the art is fantastic and it’s not so subtle anti-establishment/anti-authoritarian overtones are just what the doctor ordered for an office jockey like me.

Shepard’s format has come under some attack from a legal perspective, as a fair amount of it is based on the work of others. I will leave people to their own thoughts on intellectual property rights.

I got my first Andre The Giant Has a Posse stencil with a Tshirt that I probably bought at Pac-Sun in Northern Virginia. These are some of my uses.

Andre Photobooth Strip


Stencils Make Things Much Easier

For more information on S. Fairey, check out the following links (or just google shepard fairey):


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