‘Riot Cop’ is silkscreen print by acclaimed street artist Obey aka Shepard Fairey. The print is from an AP edition of 8 and is signed by the artist.
Shepard Fairey - better known by his psuedonym, Obey - is one of the most prolific contemporary graffiti artists in the US and a key defining figure of the street art movement, globally. Famed for his 2008 Obama ‘hope’ poster, his work is influenced by and informs a critique of both advertising and propaganda, featuring politically charged images of consumer culture in a graphic, retro aesthetic. His ‘ICA Retro Series’ draws on images from Soviet propaganda: an important legacy for Obey, representing the dawn of advertising and graphics tipping into the realm of art. With the familiar palette of red, black, and sepia-beige, ’Riot Cop’ makes use of the dauntless graphic compositions characteristic of Soviet era art. In front of a large bullseye stands a red-uniformed official, clasping a wooden stick in both hands. A strip of speech sits at the top of the print, with the words ‘I’m gonna kick your ass and get away with it!’, while a symmetrical block of text sits at the bottom with the single word ‘Obey’. The piece is powerful and pressing, an important political comment expressed deftly through the appropriation of Soviet style art but, beyond all else, ‘Riot Cop’ is an aesthetic triumph, striking to behold.