Shepard Fairey (USA, 1970-)
Frank Shepard Fairey introduces to Street Art the concept of virality, the obsessive repetition of an image and of a message that finds meaning in the repetition itself and benefits from its diffusion. With this intention, in 1989, this passionate skater from South Carolina leads the campaign “Andre the Giant has a posse” with the stylized face of the well-known wrestler accompanied by the massive writing “obey”. In a short time, thousands of stickers with this image spread all over the United States and beyond, pasted by Fairey himself, his friends and hundreds and thousands of “followers” throughout the world, which soon start spreading the verb “obey”. There is no political intent in the initial image created by Fairey, but due to this viral explosion of stickers, the message gets interpreted as opposition to body corporates, to power, to authorities. Fairey officially introduces in his works a political connotation in 2008, when his four-colour print of Barack Obama’s face with the word “HOPE” underneath becomes (unofficially) the icon of the senator’s winning presidential campaign. This made him one of the most famous and influential artists of our time.