In the early ’90s, I fell in love with ’60s psychedelic posters from artists like San Francisco’s Victor Moscoso, Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, and Rick Griffin, as well as LA’s John Van Hamersveld. I was especially drawn to the op-art patterns and color theory used in psychedelic art. I had been making black and white Andre stickers for a couple of years, and I decided it was time to branch out with some playful backgrounds and color theory, so I began experimenting with op-art patterns and intense vibrating colors. Part of the fun was the journey of improving at color theory, and the other part was seeing the polarizing reactions to the psychedelic Andre stickers. Some people thought they were annoying, even nauseating, while others found them exhilarating. Considering my prior punk-rock-minimalism, some people saw the color and style as a betrayal! Coincidentally, in 1992, as I was releasing these psychedelic Andre stickers into the world, the techno rave scene was gaining steam. The rave scene used a mix of early digital and psychedelic aesthetics, which led to an enthusiastic audience for the stickers and t-shirts of my op-art variations. I was torn because I was not really a fan of techno music, but I was broke, and selling t-shirts to ravers was helping to keep me alive. I’m also fascinated by how underground scenes develop. However, as rave became extremely trendy, I decided that despite the fact that it would be bad for my cash flow, I needed to separate my art from the rave scene. Thirty years have passed, and I’ve gotten over my distaste for an association with rave to the point that I felt like exploring psychedelic patterns and colors again. These Op-Art Icon prints are nostalgic in some ways and of-the-moment in others. They relate to my early ’90s explorations but push a lot further with the way the colors weave through the Icon Face image and have the effect of subtle translucency through the spray paint texture. I always have fun finding new ways to use some of my staple images, like the Icon Face, because repetition with evolution is an important principle for the Obey Giant campaign.
Op-Art Icon (Four Colorways: Aqua, Aqua Gradient, Green, Green Gradient). 18 x 24 inches. Screen print on thick cream Speckletone paper. Signed by Shepard Fairey. Numbered edition of 250. Comes with a Digital Certificate of Authenticity provided by Verisart. A limited amount of matching numbered sets of all four will be available for $220. Matching color sets of two for $110. Sold separately for $55. Available on Thursday, February 8th @ 10 AM PST at https://store.obeygiant.com. Max order: 1 per customer/household. International customers are responsible for import fees due upon delivery (Except UK orders under $160). ALL SALES FINAL.