This print, created during the Iraq war, is an alternative phrase inspired by popular 1960s anti-war mantra, “Make love, not war.” In this case, Fairey asserts the need for creative rather than destructive acts. The Art Nouveau style of the image is an additional reference to the influence of Art Nouveau on hippie and psychedelic art of the ‘60s, including many anti-Vietnam war posters.
Encased within a floral garland, the female figure appears more self-assured and real rather than ethereal. The placement of two paintbrushes below her portrait not only refers to a classical tool of art production but resembles spears, which when read alongside the directive to “OBEY” that appears on her neck, simultaneously makes the otherwise palatable message more pointed.
About the Artist:
Frank Shepard Fairey, born February 15, 1970, is an American contemporary street artist, graphic designer, activist, illustrator and founder of OBEY Clothing who emerged from the skateboarding scene. He first became known for his "Andre the Giant Has a Posse" sticker campaign while attending the Rhode Island School of Design, which appropriated images from the comedic supermarket tabloid Weekly World News. He became widely known during the 2008 U.S. presidential election for his Barack Obama "Hope" poster. The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston calls him one of today's best known and most influential street artists. His work is included in the collections at The Smithsonian, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.