In early 2017, I was contacted by international clothing company OBEY Clothing, based out of Los Angeles, California, about a potential partnership with Children Incorporated. I was already familiar with OBEY because the company’s founder, international artist and activist Shepard Fairey, has for many years created and donated artwork in order to promote awareness of social and political issues, while also contributing directly to the causes he believes in. I was thrilled for Children Incorporated to be added to the list of Fairey and OBEY’s partnering nonprofit organizations in a joint effort to bring further attention to the importance of supporting children around the world with basic necessities, so that they can receive an education and have a chance at a brighter future.
Not only did Shepard Fairey create artwork to support Children Incorporated, but he also produced that artwork based on photographs of Children Incorporated-sponsored children.
About Shepard Fairey
Shepard Fairey was born in Charleston, South Carolina. He received 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 the way people see art and the urban landscape. After 29 years, his work has evolved into an acclaimed body of art, which includes the 2008 “Hope” portrait of Barack Obama, found at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. The artist collaborated with Amplifier in 2017 to create the We The People series recognizable during the Women’s Marches and other rallies around the world in defense of national and global social justice issues.
Fairey’s stickers, guerilla street art presence, and 85 plus public murals are recognizable worldwide. His works are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and many others.
The artist’s most recent body of work “Damaged,” was his largest-ever solo fine art exhibition, which ran in Los Angeles from November 11, 2017, through December 17, 2017. The “Damaged” opening reception set record attendance with more than 10,000 guests and the show drew an unprecedented number of visitors to experience the art firsthand during the exhibition run.
What is OBEY Awareness?
Shepard Fairey donates and calls attention to various nonprofits through the OBEY Awareness Project. The project, operated by OBEY Clothing, was founded in 2007 to complement Fairey’s humanitarian efforts around the world. The project allows the company to raise funds for causes Fairey believes in by selling specially-designed merchandise, and donating 100 percent of the profits from those sales to the organizations he supports.
Nonprofit organizations that have benefited from the OBEY Awareness Project in past years include HOPE (Helping Other People Everywhere), Feeding America, the Japanese Red Cross, and Adopt-a-Pet.com. Environmentally-related nonprofit organizations, such as the Surfrider Foundation and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, have also received donations. Children Incorporated is proud to now be listed along with the many other admirable causes that are supported by Shepard Fairey and the OBEY Awareness Project.
Teaming up to help kids in need
Not only did Shepard Fairey create artwork to support Children Incorporated, but he also produced that artwork based on photographs of Children Incorporated-sponsored children. During a visit to our affiliated projects in Ethiopia in 2016, I took photos of our sponsored children in Shashemene at Kids Hope Ethiopia. Fairey used two photos of two young girls enrolled in our program, and paired them together to create a design that was printed on OBEY Clothing T-shirts. The shirts are available now on the OBEY website, where the following is written about the company’s partnership with Children Incorporated:
Children Incorporated is proud to now be listed along with the many other admirable causes that are supported by Shepard Fairey and the OBEY Awareness Project.
“For our latest OBEY Awareness Collection, we’ve teamed up with Children Incorporated. Children Incorporated is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides assistance to children in twenty-three countries around the world, including the U.S. For more than 50 years, their organization has helped offer sustainable solutions for children to receive food, clothing, and healthcare. They envision a world in which all children have access to education, hope, and opportunity. By meeting basic needs and providing affirmation and encouragement, they empower children to grow and ultimately break the cycle of poverty. To date, Children Incorporated has reached over 250,000 children in 300 projects around the globe.
100% of net profits from sales of our OBEY Awareness Collection, featuring art by Shepard Fairey, will be donated to Children Incorporated.”