Shepard Fairey: Poster Child of the Gift Culture

Derived from…
Seth Godin, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable
Previously
Your Art: From Mechanical to Digital

RAP6 : Your Gifts
PROFIT : The way we interact with each other is changing. Central to the capitalist system is giving to get. In contrast, the internet is emerging as a gift culture where giving freely is normal. And, this is the intent behind sharing your art. The Gift Culture

When Shepard Fairey created the Obama Hope poster he set out to make some money and support his political beliefs.
From his initial print run, he sold 350 copies and gave away another 350.
By October 2009, he’d printed 300,000 posters and sold only 2000 of them.
The rest were given away.
(Source: Wikipedia)

To give away 99% of your product doesn’t sound like good business practice.
Think of all the money he left on the printing table.
Yet, from that one poster, Fairey’s career is now firmly established.
His poster became the icon of the Obama campaign, was acquired by the Smithsonian for the National Portrait Gallery and he now has an international reputation.

He’s also become the poster-child (sic) of the gift culture built on generosity.


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