Heritage Auctions has launched its first sale dedicated to contemporary artist Shepard Fairey. Shepard Fairey: 30 years of OBEY celebrates the American contemporary street artist, graphic designer, activist, illustrator and founder of OBEY Clothing who emerged from the skateboarding scene. The auction is the first dedicated to works from Fairey's varied OBEY campaigns, with original art and signed, limited prints. Each work in the auction casts a spotlight on important social issues dating back to the late 1980s.
This is the first auction in a new series of auction that the Urban Art Department at Heritage has announced focusing exclusively on a single artist. This sale will be followed by auctions dedicated solely to Banksy in January 2021, Invader in February and Murakami in March.
"Fairey stayed true to his roots as an influential street artist and carried that approach through three decades, even though his graphic artwork has been elevated for use in national political campaigns," said Leon Benrimon, Vice President of Modern & Contemporary Art at Heritage Auctions.
Highlights include his Fairey's first work featuring Andre the Giant in 1989. The work evolved into the OBEY campaign which the artist explains in his 1990 manifesto is an experiment in Phenomenology, a rare term that allows the audience to translate the work for themselves by manifesting the meaning behind the artist's work. Over the years the OBEY campaign translated into posters, sticker, murals and works of art.
The original Andre the Giant image evolved over the years into various depictions, all with the same theme, as can be seen in Castro Collage, 2003 (est. $7,000-10,000), Obey '89, 2005 (est. $3,000-5,000) and Icon Stencil, 2018 ($3,000-5,000). A portrait of Andre the Giant is the prominent imagery in both lots highlighted with the bold prints and colors the artist has come to be known for.
Fairey's artworks, often critiques of authoritarianism and social injustice, references similar works through Aung San Suu Kyi, 2009 (est.$300-500) a portrait of the Nobel Peace Prize laurate. Shepard Fairey: 30 years of OBEY auction also hosts Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, 2016 (est. $1,000-1,500) created in response to the November, 2015 terror attacks that occurred in France.
Additional highlights include:
· Pow(er), 2010, a screenprint in colors on speckled cream paper (est. $300-500)
· Rock the Vote, 2008, signed, numbered and dated in pencil along lower edge (est. $300-500)
· Obey Lotus, 2019, a stencil and mixed media collage on paper (est. $2,000-3,000)
Shepard Fairey: 30 years of OBEY is open for bidding and closes Oct. 28 on HA.com