From The Giant: The Definitive Obey Giant Site
Obey Giant is also known as "André the Giant Has a Posse".
The Obey campaign can be explained as an experiment in Phenomenology. The first aim of Phenomenology is to reawaken a sense of wonder about one's environment. The Obey campaign attempts to stimulate curiosity and bring people to question both the campaign and their relationship with their surroundings. Because people are not used to seeing advertisements or propaganda for which the motive is not obvious, frequent and novel encounters with Obey propaganda provoke thought and possible frustration, nevertheless revitalizing the viewer's perception and attention to detail. The medium is the message.
Shepard's silk screened sticker-based campaign started in 1989 with an image of André the Giant.
Taken from obeygiant.com:
"Artist captures attention with sticker based on Andre"
by Nicholas Drake Special to The Post and Courier
The most difficult task any artist faces is capturing the public's attention. With so many vying for even a fractional moment of attention, few ever get Warhol's 15 minutes of fame. Charleston-born Shepard Fairey, along with his associates Blaize Blouin and Alfred Hawkins, had managed with notable success to make his mark. Starting in the summer of 1989, Fairey created a silk-screened sticker based on obey giant, best known for his role in Rob Reiner's film 'The Princess Bride.' The 2-inch-square black-and-white stickers are titled obey giant has a Posse and bear the exaggerated features of the larger-than-life media figure.
Beginning in Charleston, the former Wando student and graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, started pasting the stickers everywhere and anywhere the casual eye might fall. Then, utilizing a network of friends, he began distributing the 7-foot-4, 500 pound gargantuan's image about the nation. Eventually they spread it abroad. Like the old 'Kilroy was here' graphic, the sticker aroused a kind of perplexed curiosity. The public interest spawned and outpouring of stenciled images and posters to meet the demand. This obey giant line is produced by Fairey's graphic company 'Andre,' based in Providence, R.I. All this activity has brought Fairey recognition, including an exhibit at New York's Holly Solomon Gallery.
Caught between Andy Warhol's vision of the commercial graphic and its influence, and Keith Haring's "paint it anywhere" graffiti, the graphics produced by Fairey and Subliminal are social commentaries on the American way of life and the advertisements that reinforce that lifestyle. "I started to see this interesting process, like why people are fascinated with various icons and how that relates to advertising and our being inundated with images all day and every day. Especially to have something be seen in a peculiar context like the corner of a stop sign and not have an explanation to it. Fairey seems particularly fascinated by the responses he gets from his graphic inventions. Because the obey giant has a Posse sticker has no actual meaning, the various reactions and interpretations of those who view it reflect their personality and the nature of their sensibility. Now that the Andre phenomenon has gone on for some six years, Fairey has come to take it all with a philosophical sense of humor and a wry assessment of human nature. The sticker itself is an odd object of art.
Slicker than graffiti, due to the mass-produced process of silk-screening, the curiosity aroused by the appearance of these stickers has caused a demand for translating them into products for the market place. Yet, Fairey still manages to maintain their social commentary. There are so many things that are elevated to icons that are so absurd. Lifestyle advertisers make you associate positive things with their product, but few people question that. The thing about the Andre stickers is that they are so absurd that Im hoping that if people question this that maybe that will start a domino effect.
To help get his message and explanation out, he advertises in youth-oriented publications like skateboard and music magazines. Fairey shrewdly follows the evolution of Pop culture. The 15- to 25-year-olds are setting the aesthetic trends in contemporary culture. They might not be ready for fine art, but they are the ones who are defining what is cool visually.
The Charleston exhibit was organized by Paul Hitopoulos, who plans to bring more contemporary work into the refurbished restaurant. We are beginning to feature the kind of cutting edge art, from artists like Subliminal, that has difficulty finding a local forum. The art in the exhibit covers an interesting array of Pop images.
Appearances in American pop culture
Taken From WikiPedia
Fairey's original goal of raising the image of André the Giant to an iconic status has been some what of a success, as evidenced by the appropriation of this imagery by others.
- In Batman Forever, a distorted image of Giant's face is visible on a Gotham skyscraper as Batman flies the Batplane nearby.
- Obey Giant images appear in two of Joel Schumacher's films:
- In 8mm (1999), an "Obey Giant" poster is clearly visible on the outside of an alleyway door the protagonist enters.
- In Phone Booth (2002), several stenciled images of the "Obey Giant" image are visible on the corner of the building behind the phone booth in which Colin Farrell becomes trapped.
- An "OBEY" poster appears on a wall in the Berlin, Germany stage of the video game Tony Hawk's Underground 2.
- Posters of the stylized face appear on the wall on the main menu screen of the video game Tony Hawk's American Wasteland. They also appear on the level Hollywood, where a lot of them pasted at once, and East L.A, where one huge poster right in front of the entrance.
- In an episode of the television program Family Guy, Peter Griffin paints an outsized image of the stylized "Giant" face emblem on the Sistine Chapel ceiling in an ostensible renovation effort. (Show creator and television producer Seth MacFarlane was a student at RISD at the same time as Frank Shepard Fairey.)
- Fairey's iconic Andre the Giant face is a tattoo schema.
- In the PC video game Half-Life, players can choose André the Giant as a spraytag to mark walls or floors during multiplayer matches.
- The whole phenomenon was the subject of a short 1996 documentary by Helen Stickler.
- In 2004, the Georgia Institute of Technology (who made the NCAA Championship Basketball Game that season) had a popular unsanctioned movement based around tshirts and stickers bearing the faces of their center, Luke Schenscher.
- In the movie "Max Keeble's Big Move" when the bully of the movie opens his locker, two OBEY stickers can be seen in it.
- In the first episode of season four of Alias, red and black OBEY posters can been seen plastered all over the nightclub walls.
- In the music video for Rise Against's "Give it All", the Obey sticker can be seen on the guitarists guitar throughout the video.
- In the music video for "Kids and Heroes," by The Bouncing Souls, a large Obey sticker can be seen on one of the amps in the background.
- Serj Tankian of System Of A Down recently wore a OBEY tshirt at their performance at last year's Big Day Out concert.
- After their win over Tottenham Hotspur in the English FA Cup Leicester City footballer "Crazy" Mark De Vries was the subject of an updated version of the Obey sticker.
- Cartoon Network's between-show bumps depict a single city in which all of its cartoon stars seem to dwell. In one of these bumps, a picture of Aku, villain from the Samurai Jack series, can be seen with the word "OBEY" underneath it. This picture stylistically resembles the Obey Giant sticker.
- BBS: The Documentary has been promoted with a poster that reads "Ward Christensen has a Posse / 300 baud / S-100 bus."
- in 2006, Chris Nunez of Miami Ink can be found wearing a brown Obey shirt in the episode "More Money, More Problems".
- In Marc Ecko's video game, Getting up: contents under pressure, Shepard Fairey is a character, and Andre's face can be stenciled and wheat pasted during the game.