Shepard Fairey

Thomas Campbell is a soft-spoken guy with larger-than-life ideas. He grew up skating and surfing in California in the ’70s and ’80s, a scene in which, he says, exploring different forms of do-it-yourself creativity was second-nature—be it making music, taking photos, drawing graffiti, or writing a ‘zine.

Campbell parlayed the creative ethos of his youth into a full-time career—or, more accurately, a self-sustaining lifestyle. He lives in Santa Cruz, travels the world, meets interesting people, and “makes stuff.” His artistic output ranges from sculptures to films to paintings—to the the swim trunks and T-shirt below, made in collaboration with California surf and skate brand Element.

Campbell—who was profiled alongside other likeminded, DIY, oddball geniuses like Shepard Fairey and Harmony Korine in the 2008 documentary Beautiful Losers—has also put out three surf films, which are widely revered for their break from the aggro, adrenaline-rush intensity of “extreme sports” in favor of a more meditative, nostalgic homage to surf culture. Beautifully photographed at locations spanning the globe, these excerpts from Thomas Campbell’s Sprout (2004) and The Present (2009) should offer a welcome respite from your Monday-afternoon malaise:



[First video via Element; surf-film excerpts © Thomas Campbell and Woodshed Films, via YouTube. Individuals featured do not endorse Nordstrom.]


The captionless photo above appeared on Obey’s official blog last month—announcing, without saying a word, an upcoming collaboration with legendary New York street artist Keith Haring (1958-1990).

Haring’s work is some of the most instantly recognizable of the ’80s, and possibly all time. After moving to NYC in 1978 at age 19, his first public attention came from chalk drawings in subway terminals. With a style that artist and Obey founder Shepard Fairey described as “refined but primitive, deliberate buy lyrical and energetic,” much of Haring’s work sought to raise awareness of important social issues of his time, including drug abuse, AIDS, and apartheid.

Untitled, 1982 (via)

Boy on Dolphin, 1986 (via)

Growing #4, 1988 (via)

Medusa, 1986 (via)

Keith Haring À Paris, 1986 (via)

Untitled, 1984 (via)

BMW Z1, 1990 (via)


The first T-shirt in the series is available now—and pictured below, along with an untitled 1983 piece that gives the shirt design some added context. (via)

Check back for more on Keith Haring x Obey in the coming weeks—we’ll introduce a new item about once a month.

In the meantime, hear Shepard Fairey’s thoughts on Haring’s legacy in the video below, and view dozens more inspired works at the Keith Haring Foundation’s official site.


[Video courtesy of Individuals featured do not endorse Nordstrom.]


Shepard Fairey is a busy guy. You might have heard of him if you caught 2011’s Oscar-nominated street-art film Exit Through the Gift Shop. He designed one of the most iconic presidential posters of all time. Tens of thousands of posters and stickers carrying the obscure Andre the Giant imagery he created in college now adorn streets from Chicago to Stockholm. And his fine-art pieces (examples above) now grace gallery walls in The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, MoMA in NYC, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and more.

But that’s just for starters. Here’s a sample of what else he’s been up to:


Fairey recently designed two billboards in downtown LA, memorializing the late, great Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch of the Beastie Boys.


He collaborated with Neil Young to create 11 original posters—one for each song on Young’s upcoming album of traditional folk songs, Americana.


Fairey contributed artwork to Honor the Treaties, a short documentary about a photographer’s advocacy work for Native American Rights.


He even lent some exclusive artwork—plus the rights to his origin story, including the infamous ‘Mayor Buddy Cianci’ incident—to a 22-year-old film student at his alma mater. (The image directly above is a still from the student’s Social Network-inspired film.)


The man apparently sleeps 12 minutes a night, because after all that, Fairey still finds time to put out some of the best T-shirts, snap-backs, shorts and more, via his clothing label Obey.

Shop Obey—plus Ezekiel, Hurley, Quiksilver and more—in our new Surf & Skate Shop.


[Images courtesy of,, and ‘Obey The Giant’ Kickstarter page. Individuals pictured do not endorse Nordstrom or products shown.]