Obey The Giant

Whether you’ve seen it on the streets of your city or on someone’s hat as they walk down the street, a familiar slogan is found all over the place: “Obey.” The simple command with the layered connotation is the handiwork of artist Shepard Fairey. Influenced by the film They Live and using the visage of Andre the Giant, Fairey began plastering the familiar logo all over the globe in the ’90s, leading viewers to consider its implications. The brand has since given Fairey worldwide acclaim and infamy. He had a huge part in the Oscar-nominated documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, owns his own clothing line, and much more.

Director Julian Marshall thought Fairey’s rise to fame and the birth of this iconic idea would make a great idea for a film. He took to Kickstarter to fund Obey The Giant, a narrative retelling of the story, and that short has now been completed and is online. Check it out below. Read More »

I’m crediting — or blaming — The Hunger Games for this one. Gary Ross’ film adaptation of the Suzanne Collins best-seller has undeniable reflections of George Orwell‘s nightmarish vision of totalitarian information control and thought suppression, and now, just hours before that film is released to the public, we have news of a new film version of his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, often simply called 1984. Read More »

Exit Through the Gift Shop, the street-art documentary credited to Banksy, was one of the best films of 2010, and also one of the most challenged on the basis of authenticity. The film purports to chronicle the street art of Banksy and Shepard Fairey through the lens of a camera held by wealthy dilettante artist Thierry Guetta. At least that’s the basis for part of the film, before Banksy turned the cameras on Guetta as the latter became a wannabe artist named Mr. Brainwash.

Is the film ‘real’? Is Mr. Brainwash an actual practicing artist or part of a long con perpetrated by Banksy for the purpose of documentary satire? The story is so strange some assumed it couldn’t be true.

Now Ron English, another street artist with connections to Banksy, says the film is definitely real, and that it was born when Guetta refused to turn over hundreds of hours of video he’d shot of Fairey and Banksy in action. Read More »

If you know anything about artist Shepard Fairey or John Carpenter‘s film They Live, you’d be hard pressed to come up with a better marriage of artist and material. For the first time ever, the Alamo Drafthouse and their art boutique Mondo were able to get Fairey to create a poster and, of course, they chose They Live, which is screening Thursday night in Austin. Fairey predictably knocked it out of the park with an image that encompasses both his dogma and the movie’s.

After the jump check out the full image, find out when you can buy it and read about Fairey’s connection with the film.

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Exit Through The Gift Shop

The most entertaining film released to date in 2010 isn’t a tentpole, a potential blockbuster, a 3D epic or a high-concept fantasy. It is Exit Through the Gift Shop, a documentary that may be at least partially fiction. I hope it is partially fiction, but which part doesn’t really matter. Purportedly orchestrated by Banksy, the most famous and elusive of street artists, the film skirts the edge of pretension as it peers into the midnight world of artists who tag, stencil and poster public spaces. But the film is orchestrated as what?

The subject is art, but the tipping points are personality and desire. At the center of it all is a schlumpy man, a retailer turned filmmaker turned artist who may actually be too perfect a subject to be true. He is a lens through which we can clearly see so much about what art can be to individuals, and what it becomes when someone slaps on a price tag, and whether is all bullshit from moment one, anyway.

(Note: The facts of the film discussed below are well-known in some circles, but if you’re coming to this story completely cold — which is the best way to do it — consider this review as containing mild spoilers.) Read More »