Young Shepard Fairey makes a mural

10 Shepard Fairey Quotes: Inspiring Words from a Street Art Icon

Shepard Fairey, a renowned street artist, and graphic designer, has left an indelible mark on the art world with his thought-provoking and visually striking works. Beyond his captivating imagery, Fairey is also celebrated for his powerful words. In this blog post, we delve into 10 of Shepard Fairey‘s most inspiring quotes, which offer insights into his artistic vision, activism, and philosophy.

Shepard Fairey and Martha Cooper at Wynwood Walls
Shepard Fairey and Martha Cooper at Wynwood Walls

“Art is not always meant to be decorative or soothing, in fact, it can create uncomfortable conversations and stimulate uncomfortable emotions.”

Shepard Fairey
Shepard Fairey Floral Harmony Red Yin & Yang print
Shepard Fairey – Floral Harmony Red Yin & Yang

“Art making comes from the human desire to share something that is universal in one sense, but unique to your sensibility in another. I think that, wherever you are in the world, that impulse exists within human beings.”

Shepard Fairey
Shepard Fairey's gigantic "Paix et Justice" mural in Montreal
A gigantic “Paix et Justice” mural in Montreal

“Creating is about sharing ideas, sharing aesthetics, sharing what you believe in with other people.”

Shepard Fairey
Print by Shepard Fairey entitled Voting Rights Are Human Rights
Print by Shepard Fairey entitled “Voting Rights Are Human Rights”

“As a street artist, I’m used to sharing my stuff with the public. It’s a communal experience. I’ve learned not to be so precious, but rather to enjoy the process.”

Shepard Fairey
Shepard Fairey holds his art print "Rise Above"
Shepard Fairey holds his art print “Rise Above”

“The way I make art – the way a lot of people make art – is as an extension of language and communication, where references are incredibly important. It’s about making a work that is inspired by something preexisting but changes it to have a new value and meaning that doesn’t in any way take away from the original – and, in fact, might provide the original with a second life or a new audience.”

Shepard Fairey
Shepard Fairey Peace Fingers print
Shepard Fairey – Peace Fingers, limited edition print

“A lot of people thought I got famous as a studio artist, then decided to cash in on it. But it actually was just a matter of survival for many years, and I felt it was really important for me to be able to say whatever I wanted with my street art and fine art.”

Shepard Fairey
Shepard Fairey paints a mural
The man himself paints a mural

“I think the freedom to express one’s views is more important than intellectual property.”

Shepard Fairey
Shepard Fairey Zapata (Teal) print
Shepard Fairey – Zapata (Teal), limited edition print

“The sticker has no meaning, but exists only to cause people to react, to contemplate and search for meaning.”

Shepard Fairey
Shepard Fairey's Andre the Giant Obey posters in Philadelphia
Andre the Giant Obey posters in Philadelphia

“I think the idea of freedom or liberty is really misused for political reasons, but it’s something that resonates with people to the core. People want to be masters of their own destinies, but at the same time, I think they do so selectively. Sometimes they want to be told exactly what to do so they don’t have to think for themselves – as long as they can still exercise their free will.”

Shepard Fairey
Shepard Fairey Dove Geometric Blue/White/Brown (Set Of 3) print
Shepard Fairey – Dove Geometric Blue/White/Brown (Set Of 3) prints

“I consider myself a multi-platform artist – not just a street artist – but the audience I found through street art has created many of the opportunities I now have on other platforms.”

Shepard Fairey

If you had to choose one Shepard Fairey quote that embodies his artistic vision and activism, which one would it be and why?

Images: Obey Giant Facebook, Obey Giant – The Art of Shepard Fairey


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