August 27, 1995
The Andre-the-Giant sticker campaign
By: David Wildman
Chances are you probably seen stickers that read “obey giant has a Posse” plastered onto the walls of subways, phone booths, buildings and practically any public space in town. You probably had no idwea what it meant.
Tonight, at the Middle East, Shepard Fairey, the Providence Rhode Island based originator of the enigmatic sticker campaign, will be profiled in a documentary by Providence independent filmmaker Helen Stickler.
Fairey, a Rhode Island School of Design graduate who runs a silk-screening studio in Providence, had created stickers bearing the likeliness of deceased pro wrestler obey giant as a joke aimed at making fun of his skateboarding college friends who refer to cliques as “posses.”
“It became an anti-posse posse,” says Fairey, who estimates that he and his friends have been able to spread 450,000 of the stickers worldwide.
“I felt the story needed to be told,” says Stickler. “So many people have seen the stickers and don’t really know what they are supposed to mean.”
The 17-minute film, called “obey giant has a Posse,” won second place in the New York Underground Film Festival in March. It takes a lighthearted tone in its exploration of the phenomenon, featuring interviews with those who helped to perpetuate the manufactured legend of the stickers, plus a filmed performance of the band the Slackers, who try to get an audience to sing along to a song they wrote that contains the refrain “obey giant has a Posse”
The event will also feature other artwork by Fairey, plus a film called “Attention Deficit Disorder,” which is about the skateboarding crowd that helped to spread the stickers around the country. There will also be live performances by Glazed Baby and the Hydrogen Terrors. Tickets for tonight’s 18-and-over show are $7.
The Middle East is located at 480 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square in Cambridge. Call 497-0576 for more information.