I will preface this post by first stating that I have been a fan of Shepard Fairey's work ever since Andre The Giant and his Posse first started making the round in Providence RI in the mid 90's.
Around the same time that Shepard began the Andre The Giant Has a Posse sticker/bombing campaign I was hanging around Providence and the Thayer St. area around RISD and Brown University quite often. During these times you could not walk by a stop sign or electrical box without seeing a sticker designed by Shepard.
Shortly thereafter Shepard moved out west and founded BLK/MRKT then Studio Number One, while at the same time bombing streets worldwide, releasing quality prints week after week, launching Swindle magazine. Over the past couple years Shepard's profile has continued to rise putting on sold out gallery shows in the US and abroad.
Over the past few years I would look at Shepard's work quite often online and check out prints on ebay. However it was only within the past 6 months that I began buying prints. Since closing on the loft I now have a permanent place to show off artwork and not have to worry about the logistics of storing them, losing or destroying prints etc.
I've had moderate success buying the prints I liked in the past months. There was a print entitled Peace Bomber which was set to drop on the Obey Giant website yesterday at 12pm PST. As has been the ritual in the past weeks the Obey server locks up due to traffic just prior to the release and it is a dogfight in an attempt to get a print. In recent weeks prints have sold out in as quick as 30 minutes.
Well drop times comes and goes and the website is locked up, no one can access it due to traffic and such. I leave work and drive home, jump online, same deal. The site is still bogged down. It does not take a rocket scientist to come up with the URL for the prints since the Obey crew just adds a product number to the code in numerical order.
Last night I was up until after midnight copying and pasting and URL into my browser, crossing my fingers that it would be accepted and let me log into paypal. Chatting on Obey Giant forums every once in a while someone was able to secure their print and would post their confirmation #. Everyone kept on trying. I went to bed without any success, but in a dream I thought I was able to secure a print.
At work this morning I would sporadically attempt to get a print as well. With a new method mentioned on a messageboard I was able to score a print around 10am EST. The Obey Giant website took my cash and thanked me for my order.
The happiness would be short lived, as early in the afternoon the powers that be at Obey Giant issued a statement that basically said that all of us that ordered prints did so "illicitly" by copying and pasting a link and that the print never officially dropped. They informed us that we would all be issued refunds and would be banned from the re-release of PEACE BOMBER which will take place sometime tomorrow stating that the re-release would be for their TRUE fans. Sorry I thought that those of us that sat online all evening pushing F5 in an attempt to score a coveted print and give you our money were the true fans.
I guess I am mistaken.
Obey Giant can't handle the traffic they receive on release day. The site would not even load so as far as most of us knew the print was released, but we had no access to the product page due to the fact that the page would not load. Therefore we accessed the item directly via the product number and purchased it thru the shopping cart provided.
As a long time fan of Shepard Fairey who is still new to buying prints direct from Obey Giant this certainly leaves a bad taste in my mouth and seems like a real shite way to treat people who spent hours on end in their attempts to secure a print.