Documentary Spotlight: Obey Giant

By: Jason E. (robotGEEK)

Obey Giant is a Hulu Original Documentary that focuses on legendary street/graffiti artist Shepard Fairey. Like a lot of people, Shepard Fairey was a name I only became aware of because of his "Obey" art, highly influenced by John Carpenter's seminal classic They Live. Now, I wasn't entirely 100% sure that this was the case, but with something as strong as the word "Obey", and considering how big that word was in the film's narrative, I just assumed, and as time went on, it was discovered to be true. Then when Fairey designed a They Live poster for Mondo back in 2011, I immediately became a fan of his. I was hooked. Sadly, like most of their posters and like all of Fairey's art, it immediately sold out within seconds and though I've spent years trying to acquire one for myself, it's been a futile effort. 

Since then, Fairey has become one of the biggest names in the graffiti/street art scene, as well as in the art world in general. His work can be found all over the planet, and his status would grow with insurmountable force when he designed and created the "HOPE" campaign poster for Obama during his presidential run. This fascinating and highly insightful documentary follows Fairey from his well-to-do upbringing to his rise in the street art scene (which would also give him his first taste of dealing with law enforcement), to his dominance as one of the biggest up-and-coming artists to his Obama campaign poster, which would ultimately bring him some major financial and legal trouble that would prove to be the darkest period in his life. 

I have to say, this engrossing documentary, courtesy of Hulu Plus, is one helluva roller-coaster of a ride. Never dull, totally engaging and surprisingly fun right from it's opening credits, we're taken on a tour of Shepard's life that somehow manages to also touch on the punk and skate scene of the 80's, which was the most influential period on his life. And it's revelations like this that make this documentary so fascinating and highly entertaining. Through this guided tour, poignantly narrated by Shepard Fairey himself, we're given a glimpse into what motivates him, his art, his life, and what he hopes to gain from it, as well as his passion for helping causes he believes in. If you're a fan of art, or even just a fan of good documentaries, you don't want to miss this one. 

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