Saturday, December 27, 2008

Visual Artist of The Year

(Shepard Fairey by Tiner)

No hanging chad here. Shepard Fairey is the visual artist of year.

(Obama by Fairey)

Throughout the year Fairey's iconic portrait of Obama has solidified his reputation as a prominent 21st-century artist. From having the portrait featured on the cover of Time to posted on millions of social networking profiles, Shepard's portrait of Obama has been viewed all over the world.

Ironically, it was the public that previously helped Fairey rise to prominence in the art community over twenty years ago. While attending RISD in Providence, RI, Fairey started posting images of Andre the Giant around North Eastern communities. Fairey dubbed the campaign an "experiment in phenomenology." Interest in the experiment grew and soon Fairey's admirers were posting images of Andre the Giant on billboards, walls, and behind crosswalk signs.


(Andre the Giant, source: globalgraphica.com)

As more images of Andre the Giant were posted throughout the world, Fairey launched Obey, his clothing line. The apparel line started as a small mail order business, but soon flourished and is carried today in national retail stores and independent clothing boutiques.

Today, images of Andre the Giant are still posted throughout the world, but it is Fairey's iconic portrait of Obama that has made him a household name. Regardless of your political party, Obama's portrait will continue to shared, posted, and discussed for at least the next four years.


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