THE PHILOSOPHY OF OBEY EDITED BY SARAH JAYE WILLIAMS
THE PHILOSOPHY OF OBEY: THE FORMATIVE YEARS (1989 – 2008) EDITED BY SARAH JAYE WILLIAMS
Nerve Books UK www.NerveBooks.net London Copyright Year: 2008 Copyright Notice: Copyright © Sarah Jaye Williams. All rights reserved. First paperback edition May 2008 Printed in the United States of America 08 07 06 05 04 03 02 2 3 4 5 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without written permission from Nerve Books. www.NerveBooks.net. Manifesto and Philosophy in a nutshell Copyright © 1989 – 2008 Shepard Fariey and used by permission. NERVE BOOKS, PHILOSOPHY OF OBEY, and the NERVE Books logo are registered trademarks of Nerve Books. Absence of ® in connection with marks of Nerve Books or other parties does not indicate an absence of registration of those marks. ISBN 0000-0000-0000 (forthcoming) Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Williams, Sarah J. The Philosophy of Obey : The Formative Years (1989 – 2008) p. cm. Does not include bibliographical references and index. ISBN: 0000-0000-0000 (forthcoming) paperback 1. Art – Street Art 2. Art History – Contemporary Art 3. Philosophy – Aesthetics II. Title E23534K33 2008 345.4456.’034-dc34 Cover design by Becky Wells, London, UK. Book design by Carl Rover, London, UK Cover image by Shepard Fairey and Obey Giant, www.obeygiant.com, by permission. Creative Team: Susan Behimer, Héidi Lambert, Darla Hightower, Katherine Wallen and Julie Northam This book is a work of aesthetics, contemporary art, and contemporary art history. Any illegal activity or actions deduced or derived from this work is entirely inappropriate and beyond the scope and intent of either the author or publisher.
OBEY CHAPTER 1
MAKE A STICKER, POST IF FOR A FEW WEEKS AND CREATE SOME MISCHIEF.
DON’T CONTEMPLATE THE PUBLIC.
CONSIDER THE POTENTIAL TO CREATE A PHENOMENON AFTER YOU SEE SOME PUBLIC REACTIONS.
THINK ABOUT THE RESPONSE FROM YOUR CLIQUE OF ART SCHOOL AND SKATEBOARD FRIENDS.
TAKE IT FURTHER.
THE BAD SIDE TO CAPITALISM IS THE WHOLE ‘YOU’RE A NUMBER NOT A NAME’, WORLD TAKEOVER SORT OF EXPLOITATIVE SIDE OF CAPITALISM.
DON’T BE A VICTIM.
SOLID PRODUCTS ARE MERELY INCIDENTAL TO INFORMATION MOVEMENT.
OBEY CHAPTER 9
IT’S OBVIOUS, BUT THERE ARE PROS AND CONS TO EVERYTHING.
ON US CURRENCY THERE IS THIS LATIN PHRASE, E PLURIBUS UNUM, WHICH MEANS FROM MANY ONE, WHICH WAS THE IDEA OF BEING UNITED.
‘FROM MANY ONE’ IS FAR FROM TRUE.
FEW PEOPLE ARE TOTALLY UNITED BEHIND THE UNITED STATES.
THE GOVERNMENT SOMEHOW MANAGES TO GET ITS AGENDA PUSHED THROUGH.
A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE ANGRY ABOUT WHAT’S GOING ON.
WHAT’S GOING ON IN US POLICY IS VENOMOUS, IN TERMS OF SOME OF THE POLICIES THAT ARE POISONOUS IN SORT OF A TWO-WAY THING.
QUESTION THE MONOLITHIC INFLUENCE THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS THAT PEOPLE DON’T SEEM TO QUESTION.
QUESTION THINGS THAT ARE MORE, NOT ACTUAL LAWS, BUT MORE ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT PURSUING THE AMERICAN DREAM.
THE IDEALS OF AMERICANA ARE MAYBE UNATTAINABLE.
IN TIMES OF WAR, DO STUFF THAT’S MORE OVERTLY POLITICAL.
IMAGES CAN QUESTION AUTHORITY AND THE PERVASIVENESS OF ADVERTISING.
THERE AREN’T ENOUGH DISSENTING VOICES.
START INCLUDING DIRECT POLITICAL COMMENTARY IN YOUR WORK.
ONCE YOU HAVE A KID, YOU BEGIN TO LOOK AT WHAT IS FAILING ABOUT YOUR CRITIQUE OF THINGS AROUND YOU.
BE HONEST TO YOURSELF; DON’T FEAR A HOSTILE, DIVISIVE CRITIQUE.
YOU MAY BE ANGRY, YOU MAY BE CRITIQUING THE SITUATION, BUT TURN OUT SOMETHING THAT PROMOTING PEACE.
GET BEHIND AN IDEA OF PEACE.
1430. LET MONEY BE A FORTUNATE BYPRODUCT OF YOUR ART. 1431. HELP OTHER ARTISTS PROMOTE THEIR WORK.
THERE WILL BE TIMES IN YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU CAN LISTEN TO MUSIC AND DRINK BEER AND DO WHATEVER YOU WANT TO DO.
Published on Apr 1, 2009
The Philosophy of Obey is one of the fundamental texts of 21st Century aesthetics – short, bold, candid, puzzling and remarkable in its powe...