Shepard Fairey on 'Obey Giant' Doc, Progress and His Iconic Obama "Hope" Poster

The artist discusses 'Obey Giant,' the new documentary by James Moll about Fairey's artwork and activism.

Artist, entrepreneur and activist Shepard Fairey is the subject of filmmaker James Moll's latest documentary Obey Giant. Chronicling Fairey's life from his beginning doodles to his iconic "Hope" poster for the Obama campaign and Obey campaigns, Obey Giant covers all the ups and downs of the artist's life, something that Fairey welcomed.

Stopping by The Hollywood Reporter offices for a candid conversation about the documentary, Fairey mentioned that it was crucial to showcase "the triumphs and failures in someone's life story." 

"I think it's important for people to understand my philosophies and the breadth of my practice. I was excited to give people an idea of my evolution and my consistency," he said. 

One major moment that was difficult for Fairey to live during the making of Obey Giant was his lawsuit with the Associated Press over his most famous work: Obama's "Hope" poster. "That was probably the toughest time of my life," he admits. "It's part of my learning and curve evolution. It's hard to watch but it's good that it's in there."

Fairey's Obama poster was initially entitled "Progress," and ultimately became the symbol for progress especially once it was a part of the presidential campaign. When asked about how what the word "progress" means to the country in its current political state, Fairey points out that it's "hard to spot" at the moment but there is a movement happening.

"A lot of younger people have amazing tools at their disposal and a voice through social media. It's exciting to see how informed young people are who take an interest in issues. The progress in terms of how people can educate themselves and empower themselves to play a meaningful role in the world and in their own lives — that's exciting." 

He also added that it's necessary for everyone to "look at what we have in common as a human beings." "Everything is so divided right now," Fairey says. "Progress has a lot of zig zags." 

Watch the full interview in the video above.