Graffiti artist refuses to ‘Obey’

STREET ART—The famous “Obey Giant” image has reappeared in Agoura Hills. JOHN LOESING/Acorn Newspapers

STREET ART—The famous “Obey Giant” image has reappeared in Agoura Hills. JOHN LOESING/Acorn Newspapers

Give him or her credit. They’re tal­ented, if not persistent.

Whether it’s famed artist Shepard Fairey or somebody who does a good a good job imitating his work, a person with brush and paint recently put the famous “Obey Giant” artwork back onto one of the two water towers in the hills just below Ladyface Mountain in Agoura Hills.

The image by the famed street artist has appeared twice before on the Lady face water tank, in 2014 and 2016. Both times the city removed the ticklish imag­ery citing its graffiti law.

There was no artist signature, but the picture of a face with its deep-set eyes and nose, mouth and face outlined in broad black lines was familiar to many.

The image is known throughout the street art community as “Obey Gi­ant” (formerly “Andre the Giant Has a Posse”), an iconic street-art impression meant to inspire contemplation and con­versation.

The 54-year-old Fairey dreamed up the Andre the Giant Has a Posse sticker campaign in 1989 in Rhode Island. Even­tually, the imagery was honed down to a simpler black-and-white likeness and the name was changed to Obey.

Fairey also created the famous Barack Obama “Hope” poster along with a host of other artwork that has been seen on sides of buildings, walls, water tanks and other large structures throughout the nation.

Sometimes Fairey obtains permission from cities and business owners to paint an image on a building or a wall, but in other instances, like this one, there was none.

The water tower lies on property within the city limits but owned by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.

“The water tower is not on property owned by the city so we need to work with the property owner and their group to discuss the next steps and a potential long-term solution,” Agoura Hills City Manager Nate Hamburger told the Acorn.

If not already, it’s expected the water tower will be repainted soon.

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