The DIY philosophy of the skateboarders' and punks' milieu, the milieu identifies himself with, dismisses the urge to comply with any conventions, declaring absolute freedom of expression. Building his frame of reference on this philosophy, Shepard Fairey constructs his 'artistic messages' intended to provoke critical response to a familiar social environment. The 'OBEY GIANT' campaign, with the portrait of a French wrestler André the Giant at its core, was the first artistic realization of the DIY principles. With this campaign, Fairey challenges the public to grasp human freedom and lack thereof within the system of society's rules.
The DIY subculture is far from being the only source of Fairey's inspiration. The Russian Avant-garde, particularly Alexander Rodchenko and Stenberg brothers, inspired the Constructivist element of his art. Elaborating the design of stickers, posters and stencils, Shepard chooses to use a minimalistic colour palette, emblematic pictorial system, expressive script. The artistic language he favours serves to create a laconic image comprehensible to all and sundry. The same idea underlies his use of the Pop Art discourse and, above all, a familiar iconography. While Warhol used images of celebrities and mass market goods, Shepard makes a point of his sociopolitical issues and humanitarian values, channeling his civic stance.
The display is structured on thematic principle and shows the key motifs and stages of the artist's evolution, from his fascination with underground art and Soviet Constructivist Art to Pop Art and advertising design.