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Shepard Fairey

Photo Synthesis

Giant Icon
Obama Hope, 2008 © Shepard Fairey, Obey Giant Art Inc

From grassroots to galleries. Shepard Fairey is one of the most well-known street artists with over 135 murals around the world. He had his breakthrough with the portrait of Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign in the United States, and with the explosive rise of the clothing brand OBEY. Fotografiska is now presenting Shepard Fairey’s first solo exhibition in Sweden, where his previous iconic pieces are shown alongside new works created specifically for the exhibition.

David Bowie
David Bowie, 2023 © Shepard Fairey, Obey Giant Art Inc
Bias By Numbers
Bias By Numbers, © Shepard Fairey, Obey Giant Art Inc

What do John Lennon, Barack Obama and Joan Jett have in common? They have all had their portraits painted by the uncrowned king of street artists Shepard Fairey, who is now making his long sought after Swedish debut.

Photo Synthesis will be this summer’s major exhibition at Fotografiska, with over 200 works from Shepard Fairey’s long career. The exhibit will show this international acclaimed artist with everything from his earliest works to entirely new art created specifically for the exhibition.

From grassroots to galleries

“The Photo Synthesis exhibition explores how photography has played a role in my creative process throughout my artistic development. Though my illustration style is often graphic, not photographic, photography plays a role in many of my images. I am convinced that illustration, photography, painting, and printmaking are not separate pursuits but can be combined in synchronicity. Photo Synthesis displays photography-related artworks from throughout my career and a significant, unique body of work created specifically for the exhibition”, says Shepard Fairey.

Shepard Fairey has created around 135 public murals and his stickers, guerilla art, and public murals are found around the world. His art has gone from being grassroots to today being shown in some of the world’s largest museums and galleries.

Soldier holding a rose, text says "My florist is a dick"
Obey Sadistic Florist HPM © Shepard Fairey, Obey Giant Art Inc
Montage, angry faces, text says "STOP RACISM"
Stop racism, 1989 © Shepard Fairey, Obey Giant Art Inc

"One of the most provocative artists"

“We are enormously proud of being able to exhibit Shepard Fairey at Fotografiska. He is one of the most acclaimed artists while also being one of the most provocative artists in the world at the moment, with an undiminished social commitment. With his many murals, he has changed how people talk about art and see the urban landscape. With this exhibition, we hope to inspire new perspectives and challenge preconceptions about the place and possibilities of art”, says Johan Vikner, Global Director of Exhibitions at Fotografiska.

Photo Synthesis will be shown at Fotografiska Stockholm from June 14 to October 13, 2024 and is curated by Fotografiska: Thomas Schäfer, Exhibition Manager, Mohamed Mire, Exhibition Manager and Johan Vikner, Global Director of Exhibitions.

About Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey was born in 1970 in Charleston, South Carolina. He is a contemporary street artist, graphic designer, activist, and founder of OBEY Clothing and the creative agency Studio Number One. In 1989, during his art studies at Rhode Island School of Design, Shepard Fairey created the sticker “Andre the Giant has a Posse” which was later developed into the art campaign OBEY GIANT. In 2008, his portrait of the Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama became a powerful symbol in the campaign to elect the first African American president. He is also known for the “We The People” campaign, which was introduced during the Women’s March in 2017.