Street artist Shepard Fairey has joined forces with Adobe to create a new series of works that celebrate the health care workers and volunteers on the front lines of the global pandemic. Titled “Honor Heroes,” the works represent essential workers of all stripes, from mail carriers and grocery store employees to teachers and sanitation works, as well as doctors, nurses, and first responders.
One work, Fairey’s Guts Not Glory, depicts a medical professional armed with a stethoscope in his graphic, color blocked style. “Guts Not Glory is an illustration of one of the many healthcare workers whose selfless acts of compassion and service are always meaningful, but at this moment are especially heroic,” Fairey said in a statement. “I’m inspired to glorify those who don’t seek glory, but rather to serve humanity when it is most challenged. I want the portrait to emanate the comforting warmth and empathy healthcare workers provide in the midst of anxiety and crisis.”
Fairey, who rose to fame with his OBEY Giant street art in the 1990s, has struck a chord in the past with poster-style works that respond to current events. He designed the instant classic Hope poster for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, and, eight years later, he created a suite of feminist images, titled “We the People,” for the Women’s March that protested the election of Donald Trump.
The new Adobe initiative is a digital art collaboration that will also feature works by artists and designers Aaron Draplin, Donna Adi, Jessica Walsh, and Ignasi Monreal, each of whom were inspired by the personal stories of essential workers. The hope is that the public will be similarly motviated to make works of their own in tribute to these unsung heroes.
The tech company has also made a $3 million commitment to organizations that are assisting communities around the world with their response to the health crisis, as well as a $250,000 pledge to Direct Relief as part of the “Honor Heroes” campaign.
“At Adobe, we are so grateful to those who are on the frontlines every day keeping us safe. They are heroes, every single one of them. And so we are inviting our amazing community to produce their own original creative tributes honoring their heroes,” said Adobe chief marketing officer Ann Lewnes in a statement. “Creativity has the power to bring us all together even in the most challenging times.”
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