Shepard Fairey’s Orion Art Series

May 1, 2013

Photo by Valerie Macon via SPIN


We’ve enlisted Shepard Fairey to design the official Orion Festival poster again this year! Although the artwork is still in process, we check in with the famous designer for a sneak peek at his inspiration and why he’s so psyched to be working with Metallica again on the Orion Art Series!

Can you tell us a little bit about your Metallica connection and how you first became involved with working on Metallica-inspired designs?

I discovered Metallica in Charleston S.C in 1985 when the guy who did a one hour “Punk-O-Rama” show on public radio threw in Metallica’s “Fight Fire With Fire” from the Ride The Lightning album. I loved the song and bought the full album.

I quickly picked up Kill’Em All as well and tried to convince my punk friends that regardless of the punk vs. metal factionalism, we could all jump in the mosh pit together for Metallica. I met some resistance on this front, but even punk purists got the punk/metal crossover memo when Metallica covered the Misfits on the Garage Days Revisited EP. Metallica blasted through cultural barriers.

Back in high school and college I made a few hand-made Metallica tees drawing with Sharpie or doing hand cut stencil screen-prints. The first official Metallica inspired art I made was on a couple years ago when I was asked to be part of the “Obey Your Master” art show at Tony Alva’s gallery. I made a piece inspired by the song “Disposable Heroes” because I love the music and message of that song. The band liked what I did for that art show enough to invite me to do the Orion festival poster last year, and I’m psyched to be part of Orion again this year.

What about your process? How are you approaching this year’s artwork?

I’m still working on the art, but my direction summed up as ROCK! I’m in the lab experimenting with a molotov cocktail of rock iconography and flavors. I like that the Orion lineup is diverse, but all the bands rock. I recently saw a secret Flag show with original members of Black Flag (Flag is on the Orion bill), and it blew my mind. If I can deliver visual power in my Orion poster that is 1% of the audio power of the bands on the bill, the poster might melt eyeballs. My process is a combination of hand illustration and digital layout after I scan my illustration.

Shepard Fairey’s 2012 Orion art


What’s your favorite Metallica memory?

My favorite Metallica memory is meeting the whole band at the “Obey Your Master” art show. I DJ’ed the opening party and it was awesome to get compliments on my art and song selection from both Kirk and Lars. James and I talked about how crazy it is that Metallica formed 30 years ago! I also enjoyed talking to Lars about his awesome performance “playing himself”(in the theatrical sense, not the hip-hop sense) in the movie Get Him To The Greek. Lars and I stayed in touch, which led to me working with Orion. Metallica are long time heroes of mine, so it is pretty surreal to get to work on projects for them.