Two of pop culture’s intrepid forces — Shepard Fairey and Blondie’s Debbie Harry are polishing up a collaboration for the artist’s Obey clothing label next fall.
Forty years to the day that Blondie made its debut at CBGB’s in the East Village, the draw for her indelible style remains intact. Fairey has described Blondie as one of his all-time favorite bands since he discovered them as a kid on pop radio. That interest only intensified as he got into punk and learned more about Blondie’s evolution from the CBGB’s scene with bands like The Ramones, and Talking Heads. Along with always appreciating Blondie’s “stylistic diversity, tackling genres such as rock, girl group, soul, disco, hip-hop and reggae, Fairey has described Harry as “an amazing vocalist, lyricist, style icon, beauty and embodiment of NYC cool.”
“Really excited” about what’s in store for the upcoming Harry-infused special-edition women’s line, Fairey said late last week, “I’ve been a Blondie fan my whole life and have collaborated with them in the past, which has been a dream come true. But working with Debbie on this project has been totally inspiring,” Fairey said. “She’s been very involved and hands-on for the whole process, just another display of her incredible talent.”
Building from a photo of Harry with a zebra background taken by Blondie cofounder Chris Stein, Fairey created an illustration for an Obey hoodie two years ago. The street artist, who is globally known for his “Hope” poster of President Obama, also took inspiration from Andy Warhol’s portrait of Harry, one of his favorite pieces by the artist, which had been “coincidentally captured in progress by Stein.” The $75 Harry-imprinted hoodie was an instant sellout.
The new year might be a monumental one for Fairey, who will stage “a big solo project” in Los Angeles. Earlier this year, many book lovers got a closer look at his artistry when he redesigned the Los Angeles Public Library’s membership card.
In February, the street artist will be honored at Art Wynwood with the Tony Goldman Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award. Presented in partnership with Wynwood Walls, the salute in Miami recognizes individuals in art whose careers have changed the industry.