Shepard Fairey: ‘Peace is Radical’

Glendale Library, Arts & Culture and ReflectSpace Gallery presents “Peace is Radical,” a solo exhibition by renowned street artist and activist, Shepard Fairey. The exhibition will be on view from January 20, 2024 through April 14, 2024 at the ReflectSpace Gallery, inside Glendale Central Library.

“Peace is Radical” features works addressing a range of topics, including creative empowerment, the importance of democracy, race and gender equality, environmental justice, and, of course, peace and harmony. Almost all of these art pieces utilize screen printing. This versatile graphic medium can be used to produce high-end art or multitudes of prints that can be disseminated liberally. Fairey uses screen printing in both ways and finds it to be an incredibly empowering and democratic medium. A section in the “Peace is Radical” exhibition will display a series of the screens he has used to print his art.

“I titled this show ‘Peace is Radical’ because humanity seems to be in a perpetual state of conflict, Fairey said. “Peace requires us to pursue harmony with thoughtful vigilance. I’m a pacifist. I believe in solutions to disagreements that avoid violence.”

As a contemporary street artist, graphic designer, activist, and founder of OBEY Clothing and creative agency, Fairey gained notoriety with the creation of the “Andre the Giant has a Posse” sticker that later evolved into the OBEY GIANT art campaign. In 2008, his portrait of then-Democratic candidate Barack Obama became an internationally recognized emblem of hope.

“We are an intelligent species capable of cooperation and solving problems without violence,” Fairey added. “When I look at humanity in general, most people want to live in peace. The majority of my art focuses on issues of justice, and an outcome of improved justice is a more equal, fair, and peaceful society. Through my art, I want to remind people of the equal humanity of all people, regardless of their race, religion, nation, or culture. There is no us versus them; there is only us.”

Shepard Fairey is additionally known for the “We the People” campaign debuted during the 2017 Women’s Marches worldwide. Fairey has painted more than 135 public murals, becoming one of the most sought-after and provocative artists globally, changing the way people converse about art and view the urban landscape.

“At a time when the world is so deeply engaged in war—from Gaza, to Ukraine, to Armenia, to Ethiopia and many other places — having Shepard Fairey’s exhibit “Peace is Radical” at ReflectSpace is a monumental event,” Ara and Anahid Oshagan, Co-curators of ReflectSpace Gallery, said. “It brings a message of peace and hope and engenders critical conversations about social justice in the world and our communities. Shepard has always used his visibility and platform as an artist to bring important conversations into the public sphere and this fits perfectly into the ReflectSpace gallery mission.” 

Glendale Library, Arts & Culture limited edition library card, Shepard Fairey
Glendale Library, Arts & Culture limited edition library card, Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey has designed a limited-edition library card for Glendale Library, Arts & Culture that will be available at all Glendale Library branches through the run of the exhibit, while supplies last.

“Peace is Radical” will be on view inside Glendale Central Library located at 222 East Harvard, Glendale, CA. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, January 20, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM.

About the Artist 

Shepard Fairey was born in Charleston, South Carolina. Fairey became passionate about art at an early age and went on to receive his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1989 he created the “Andre the Giant has a Posse” sticker that transformed into the OBEY GIANT art campaign, with imagery that has changed how people see art and the urban landscape.

Fairey’s stickers, guerilla street art presence, and public murals are recognizable globally. His works are in the permanent collections of the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and many others.  

Shepard Fairey has painted nearly 135 large-scale murals across six continents worldwide.  More information from his career can be found at obeygiant.com.

No Comments Yet.