I can credit Roger Gastman for first introducing me to Shepard Fairey. His magazine While You Were Sleeping was ahead of its time in all aspects of culture and taste (or lack thereof). I dug through my old stacks recently and decided to reproduce this great interview with Shepard Fairey from the 4th issue of WYWS. Long before Museum Retrospectives and Obama posters, Fairey was paying his dues just like every other artist.
From: While You Were Sleeping, Issue 4, 1998
Why Andre The Giant?
I saw his picture in the newspaper and saw it as something that I could show my friend how to cut a stencil. I was just amused by it and we decided to make it our inside joke, that it was going to be the new cool skate posse. It makes fun of the popular culture, but it is a popular culture phenomenon. It makes fun of consumerism but then I encourage people to buy a t-shirt because it funds me making more stickers. It was just a really funny memorable picture. He is an oddity. This was around 1989. We put the stickers around town. I thought it would just be a joke that lasted a few weeks. I made the original sticker with a ball point pen and a photo copy machine. For some reason people kept asking where that sticker came from. They wanted to know if it was a band, a cult or what? I was even in the line at the super market and heard people talking about. That’s when the plan started to unfold. The more you put out there, the more people are going to think it means something important. It was just something funny to do. The local indie paper had a contest that anyone who writes in and says what the Andre the Giant sticker campaign was really about would win tickets to a show. This was going on in Providence, Rhode Island. I had a few friends who were doing it for me in their cities.
You don’t have a sick fascination with giants?
Not at all. It’s just the power of propaganda.