We imagine that choosing a graphic designer to report upon in FIDM’s History of Design course was an easy decision for Brian Flores, who is so inspired by street artist-turned-apparel-brand-entrepreneur Shepard Fairey that he has a tattoo on his chest to prove it.
“Shepard Fairey’s work has always inspired me, and is one of the main reasons why I chose to pursue a career in graphic design,” says Flores, who is earning his graphic design degree at FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. “From a young age I’ve found graffiti to be so interesting, people displaying their art wherever they want, and in plain site for everyone to see without asking for permission. Of course there is a stigma that follows this particular art movement.”
Flores explores Fairey’s career in a report that he wrote and designed, touching upon the controversy that surrounds the contemporary artist/graphic designer, from the graffiti-based roots of Fairey’s famous streetwear brand OBEY, to his political “Hope” poster depicting President Barack Obama during the 2008 United States Presidential election (using a borrowed, uncredited photograph by Associated Press photographer Mannie Garcia according to the Los Angeles Times).
Controversy aside, Flores looks to Fairey’s extensive body of work, which includes music packaging, apparel graphics, magazine design, corporate identity and non-profit graphics and advertising, as an example of the various careers that are available in the graphic design industry.
“Starting a street-wear clothing brand is my ultimate goal in life. Being able to see my designs on clothing that people wear and use as a part of their lifestyle means the world to me,” says Flores.
Flores is open to other areas of graphic design as well, whether it’s branding identity design for a clothing company, publication design and layout for a magazine, or designing Websites and customizing Blogs.
“I’m also a photographer on the side, right now as a hobby, but I could easily make that another area for potential business,” he says. “I want to stay open to all the possibilities. I consider myself a well-rounded graphic designer, with room to grow.”
A graduate from Texas City High School (in Texas City, Texas) Flores chose to study at FIDM because of its affiliation with the fashion industry. After working at leading retailer Forever 21 as a sales associate and eventual visual merchandiser, Flores says his retail experience helped him discover his own passion for the apparel industry.
“Although Forever 21 isn’t the type of market I would see myself in, it allowed me to visualize a store and brand of my own,” he says. “FIDM was the obvious choice when it came to schools that offered graphic design programs but also had a background in fashion. The mix of the two made the decision easy for me.”
He adds that traditional four-year universities never appealed to him, making the decision to attend FIDM even clearer.
“I love the fact that most classes at FIDM are hands-on… I love the many Mac labs that most of the graphic design classes are held in. Also, the fact that the professors are all involved in the industry makes it more exciting. It gives me something to strive toward,” he says.
Read Flores’ report below:
History of Graphic Design: Shepard Fairey
Student: Brian Flores
Major: Graphic Design/Branding
“Fairey is one of those artists who uses the world as a canvas to express his ideas, and potentially send a message to the masses,” says Flores. “The fact that he extended this idea into the clothing world inspired me to do the same, in my own way, of course.”
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Questions/comments? Email the editor, Mani O’Brien at mo’email@example.com