Shepard Fairey can’t live on Obama posters alone

Artist Shepard Fairey is best known for his colorful Obama posters. But Fairey’s political pop and street art have overshadow a more practical, and probably more profitable, ad agency that he runs out of his relatively new Echo Park office and gallery called Studio Number One. In this former brick law office near the Dodger Stadium main gate, the man once considered a guerrilla street artist – those peeling Obey Giant posters are still plastered all over town – and a staff of 17 employees work on a variety of commercial projects. Fairey’s clients have included such well known corporate brand names as Honda, Virgin Mega Store and Dewars.

Fairey’s client roster has grown even longer – it now includes Saks Fifth Avenue – thanks to the popularity of those Obama portraits. However, Fairey concedes that his growing corporate cachet has cost him admirers, he told Creativity Online:

“There are people who want ownership of this counterculture stuff in a very elitist way,” he says. “I get accused of being a sell-out but I think there are some mainstream things that can be good and no one should have to apologize for doing it. I don’t really have any time in my life anymore for the people that bag on things once they get big. Sometimes it’s just about something striking a chord and getting popular because of it – that’s what art and communication is all about.

Image from Creativity-Online

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