33 Powerful Art That Needs Obeying By Shepard Fairley

Shepard is a renowned street artist with a loud voice on a vast range of subjects. Many consider him a true artist who seeks to insight change, a theme we can see across his works.

Born in February 1970, he is an American contemporary street artist, graphic designer, activist, and founder of OBEY Clothing. His brand emerged from the skateboarding scene.

The American artist became famous during the 2008 American presidential elections. His iconic 2008 “Hope” poster depicts then-candidate Barack Obama. Similar to his other work, this one combines street-art activism with entrepreneurial spirit.

The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston described him as one of the best known and most influential street artists.

His brand OBEY Giant inspires curiosity and causes people to question their relationship with their surroundings. The website reads, “the sticker has no meaning but exists only to cause people to react, to contemplate and search for meaning in the sticker”.

He remains popular for his bold iconic style based on styling and idealizing images.

1. Obey Box

Photo: Instagram.com

Let’s start with a classic Shepard sticker, one that shows what is inside the box. In spirit of his activism, people need to search for the answers.

2. Obey Records

Photo: Instagram.com

Fairley designed the logo and poster for his company Obey Records. He has a couple of Obey companies, one for clothing, and one for stickers.

3. Make Art Not War

Photo: Instagram.com

Shepard also re-imagines some of the popular quotes and posters of all time. For example, this one became popular during the hippie era when people in the US wanted to stop the Vietnam War.

4. Giant Street paste

Photo: Instagram.com

Some might say this sticker looks horrific and strange. But you cannot deny the fact that it will make people stop and look at it.

5. Johnny Cash

Photo: Instagram.com

Some of Fairley’s stickers are tribute to singers, actors, and celebrities in general. We can see he is a fan of Johnny Cash, one of the more famous American singers.

6. Visual Disobedience

Photo: Instagram.com

As an activist, Fairley encourages people to take action. They should not wait on the government to make their lives better. Instead, we should strive to make everything around us better.

7. Liberte Egalite Fraternite

Photo: Instagram.com

Translates literally from French, this one reads, “liberty, equality, fraternity”. They are fundamental values that define French society and democratic life in general. It is the national motto of France and the Republic of Haiti.

It is a great example of a tripartite motto.

8. Providence Industrial

Photo: Instagram.com

Shepard is one of those who support the industrial revolution, but would love to see a fair life. And not billion dollar companies exploiting and using cheap labor.

9. Peace Guard

Photo: Instagram.com

Fairley is a big supporter of peace around the world. He has several stickers that symbolize peace. And some are more direct and obvious than others. Take this one, for example.

10. Sunny Afternoon

Photo: Instagram.com

Some of his stickers are less obvious. This one, for example, while it shows a sunny afternoon, it lacks the obvious happiness and joy of sunny weather. And that is why it makes you wonder.

11. Creativity Equity Justice

Photo: Instagram.com

Some of Fairley’s boxes and messages are direct and straightforward. He knows what he stands for. And asks others to support him in his cause.

12. The Black Hills Are Not For Sale

Photo: Instagram.com

The Black Hills were a hunting ground and sacred territory of the Western Sioux Indians. Other portions of the region were also sacred to other Native American people. This is Fairley’s way of supporting Native Americans in their fight for their territory.

13. Blondie Mural

Photo: Instagram.com

We said that Shepard sometimes uses celebrities for his stickers. In this one, he uses the singer from Blondie, the famous band in the 1980 and 1990s in the US.

14. Rise Above

Photo: Instagram.com

Sometimes all you need for a motto is a word or two. You do not need big speeches or glamorous parades. Just two words can carry so much meaning.

15. No Future

Photo: Instagram.com

Speaking of simple messages, this photo has so much meaning. The symbolism with newspapers is amazing. Newspapers are so historic, we might live in an era without newspapers soon. And the future without real newspapers is not a good one.

16. Damaged Collection

Photo: Instagram.com

Here is a sticker with a couple of stamps, each one referencing a different pop culture icon or topic.

17. Fire Sale Mural

Photo: Instagram.com

This mural is a comment on the challenges any individual faces pushing for environmental and climate responsibility. Pushing for environmental change and reforms is not easy. But we can make it to the end of the road.

18. Late Hour Riot

Photo: Instagram.com

Shepard made this sticker to support the Black Lives Matter movement. He made it to donate proceeds of the earnings to the movement.

19. My Florist Is A D

Photo: Instagram.com

A lot of fans love Fairley and his direct messages concerning topics in our environment. We would love to see more flowers. Instead, in the past few years, we see less and less greenery and flowers.

20. Mandela The Purple Shall Govern

Photo: Instagram.com

The message The Purple Shall Govern is an anti-apartheid graffiti. And of course, we have it next to one of the biggest leaders in the world, Nelson Mandela.

21. Welcome Home

Photo: Instagram.com

This 55-foot high mural is in Costa Mesa. It was designed to attract attention. Colored in blue, red, yellow, and white backdrop, it adorns a Costa Mesa apartment complex.

Welcome is etched above a woman with a lotus flower in her hair and Independence written sideways near an angel holding another blossom. You can also notice a dove, the international symbol of peace in the mural.

22. Power And Equality

Photo: Instagram.com

Two of the contrary words in our world. We fight for power of the people, but it is hard to get equality when multi billion corporations exploit the Average Joes.

23. Obama Hope

Photo: Instagram.com

This is the sticker that put Shepard on the map. He made it for Obama, the then-presidential campaign that inspired hope and promised things can change in the United States for the better. Fairley is a great example that white American believed in Obama just as much as African Americans.

24. War By Numbers

Photo: Instagram.com

Every way is a catastrophe. There are so many deaths, casualties, and injured people. For some those are only numbers. But for the people, they are more than just numbers.

25. Trust The Earth Hemp Beauty

Photo: Instagram.com

In the past few years, we have seen a rise in popularity of hemp or industrial hemp. It is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species, grown specifically for industrial use. Today, companies use it to make a wide range of products that improve our life.

26. We The People

Photo: Instagram.com

Shepard is one of the artist in America that believe people can make change in the world. And it is true, a group of people, well organized, can change society. But it is up to people to understand they are greater than fear.

27. Peace

Photo: Instagram.com

In his true spirit, Fairley paints a Peace mural, depicting a Muslim woman. He supports peace between all nations, not just American countries.

28. Mural In London

Photo: Instagram.com

This mural in London definitely brings color to an otherwise boring street. And there are so many reference to his activism messages.

29. Obey Piece

Photo: Instagram.com

We started with an Obey box, and now let’s continue with another framed sticker. It depicts a symbol that sends the message of peace and equality among people.

30. Golden Future

Photo: Instagram.com

What is the future like? What can we expect from the future? Well, if we try and change something, we can expect more of the future.

31. We Shape The Future Rose Shackled

Photo: Instagram.com

Here is another future inspired mural by Fairley. His message is straightforward and direct. We shape the future. Nobody else.

32. High Time

Photo: Instagram.com

While Shepard believes we can shape the future, he knows that we do not have a lot of time. That is the stopwatch for. It is time to hurry up and change things as quick as possible.

33. Chuuut The Future Is Unwritten

Photo: Instagram.com

Let’s finish off with a classic mural by the American artist. It carries the same message he applies over and over again. The future is unwritten, and it is up to us to do the best we can do write a better future.



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