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OBEY DRE: An open letter to Shepard Fairey

We have an idea that just might help world-renowned graffiti artist and graphic designer Shepard Fairey out of a bit of a legal jam, and it happens to have something to do with Andre Drummond.

Christopher Daniels - DBB News
Christopher Daniels - DBB News



Dear Shepard,

Let's just go right ahead and say we've heard about that little bit of trouble you got into when you were here in Detroit on otherwise above-board business. The city is coming back, you saw that and did a sweet job of bringing beauty and art into downtown with that awesome officially sanctioned mural.

Fairey mural

Shepard Fairey's mural, One Campus Martius, downtown Detroit (Photo:

Apparently though, the unofficial, non-sanctioned stuff wasn't too appreciated by the fine folks at the Detroit Police Department. But hey we're not here to cast blame or make you feel shitty. We're here to help.

See we've got a connection, you and us Pistons fans. Let me explain and I think you'll see we've come up with a solution here that works to all of our benefit and leaves us all with warm fuzzies.

To start off, let me say I'm a fan of your work, followed it for years. Of course, most people know you without knowing they know you, through that amazing piece of work for a certain Barack Hussein Obama.

Fairey hope mural

Fairey poses under a mural of his widely known image of Barack Obama (Photo: Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times)

Loved that, it probably helped him win the election more than a little bit. But what I came to know you for and what ties and binds us is your early work. Chiefly, an early piece which used the image of one Andre the Giant and one word. OBEY. That one word in bold with a stylized image of The Giant's face was what put you on the map, if I'm not mistaken. Putting that imminently recognizable, now-buyable-as-a-t shirt image up all over Detroit as graffiti while you were in town and even putting out images on the internets of said graffiti might not have been the best idea, but I digress.


Fairey's Andre the Giant OBEY graffiti (Photo: Elizabeth Daniels)

The reason I bring up that image and Andre the Giant is that, well, as far as Detroit sports fans are concerned, there's a new Andre in town. Andre Drummond happens to be coming into his own this year, and he just so happens to be a giant. He is destined to become an All-Star, is already in conversation for league MVP, and if he maintains his current trajectory, will find himself in the NBA Hall of Fame. But here is where we get to the meat of the idea.

What I'm proposing is straightening out this whole legal mess, getting this misunderstanding well and truly behind us through something that functions threefold: As a gesture of good will towards the city of Detroit, as an update of your tried-and-true muse and as an insertion into the cultural lexicon of a budding young star, all in one fell swoop. And it's as easy as this:

Proposed Andre Drummond as Andre the Giant graphic

Pretty cool huh? Andre Drummond, hope for the future of the new Detroit, symbol of the rebirth of both the city and its NBA team, immortalized by one of this generation's great image makers. The people of Detroit are happy, Pistons owner Tom Gores is happy, both of which make Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan happy, and hey Mike is kind of tight with the chief of police, Mike being his boss and all. Oh and added bonus: Tom Gores is buds with Dan Gilbert, who funded your mural and was probably none too pleased with the legal mess that sullied the beauty of the mural. So you got that going for you too, which is nice.

Goodwill abounds, forgiveness reigns supreme. Hope springs eternal. Win. Win. Win.

The one catch though is that if we were to try to actually use this image we of course run the risk of getting the pants sued off of us, regardless of the lack of worth of said pants. So really, for this amazing series of incredible benefits to come to fruition all that we're asking is from you is this: Do us a solid and look the other way should any lawyers ever bring questions of licensing to you or if any other legalese should ever rear its ugly head. Simple.

(There's also the small matter of getting Andre Drummond's permission to use his likeness, but honestly with all of the love that'll be flowing and drenching everything in its path, I'm guessing that'll be a piece of cake.)

So yeah, pretty sweet plan we think for all this messiness to end up actually being a fortuitous situation.

Get back to us as soon as possible. We'll keep it wink-wink, nudge-nudge in the meantime.

All the best,

Christopher Daniels - Detroit Bad Boys Writing Staff