Mike Dean and Shepard Fairey Team for NFT Offering ‘OBEY 4:22’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Shirley Halperin
·4-min read

Hip-hop hitmaker Mike Dean (pictured at right) and noted street artist Shepard Fairey (left) have teamed for “OBEY 4:22,” a series of open edition NFTs created with blockchain technology company Origin Protocol, whose recent auction for the first-ever tokenized album with 3LAU generated over $11.7 million in sales.

“4:22” will be sold on April 23 beginning at 12am ET and for a 15-minute window and will be followed with an auction for additional high-rarity NFTs on May 27. The series was inspired by Dean and Fairey’s experiences during the COVID pandemic and “showcases how art and music can be personal, immersive and connecting to serve all of humanity.”

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Fairey, best known for Barack Obama’s HOPE campaign art, first heard Dean’s work via his sonic contributions to the Geto Boys records. Dean became aware of Fairey’s street art in the mid-1990s. “I used to see his art all over New York when I first started going to there for music work,” Dean tells Variety. “He was the king; you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing his Andre the Giant OBEY poster on every phone box.”

The two were connected through Larry Warsh, an art collector and philanthropist whose No More Rulers organization helps brings art to the inner city.

“OBEY 4:22” combines sound and vision by these two influential artists. As Dean recounts: “Shepard sent me over books and stuff to look through. I went through all his art and picked things that I liked or that resonated with me. Then we sent over a mood board of all the stuff we had really wanted to touch on. From that, he sent me over the first proof of the work and it kind of inspired me to make music.”

The two then met up in Fairey’s studio to “jam,” as it were. “I set up a bunch of keyboards and made the music for the grand prize NFT, while he made the art,” says Dean. “I got so high from the spraypaint that I thought I might pass out.”

Three top bidders will receive the physical, visual art along with the musical work. Dean confesses that it took “a while” to wrap his her around NFTs. “A good month [was spent] sitting in Clubhouse rooms listening to people [and] taking only about 10 percent of what you hear seriously because Clubhouse is full of experts,” he says sarcastically.

The music of “4:22,” half of which was performed and improvised on livestream through Twitch and Instagram Live, features such instrumental tracks as “Cryptosonic” and “Earth Force,” the former described as taking “a darker turn” in its use of distorted saw waveforms, and deep vocal overtones that “gives the song psychedelic nuances that bring mind-altering experiences.” “Earth Force” evokes beauty and danger and a sense of ethereality, building a drum beat that morphs into a high-pitched siren pulse.

The visual elements by Fairey include 12-inch vinyl LP jackets whose artwork references radio wave transmission, stereo hi-fi technology, the Earth’s colors of blue and green, and “the green herbs many enjoy to enhance a mind-expanding musical journey.” The first edition offering also includes animated art.

“I am very honored to work with Mike Dean on such a unique and meaningful collaboration, both from a musical and visual standpoint,” said Fairey. “Art and music can both serve as forms of escapism to take you somewhere else. I hope this collection can provide escape and heighten consciousness.”

“Origin is proud to be working with Mike Dean and Shepard Fairey on their cutting-edge NFT collaboration,” said Micah Alcorn, Origin Protocol director of product. “Both artists are pioneers in their respective fields and have been involved in some of the most iconic creations of the past two decades. Blockchain technology is empowering creators to connect directly with their fans and change the way art and music are distributed. We’re excited to be at the forefront of this revolution and supporting these two talented innovators.”

Find more info at Obey422.com.

Cryptosonic First Edition:

NFT Collectible, $1000
Features artwork from Shepard Fairey and music by Mike Dean
April 23rd at 12am EST, on sale for 15 minutes

Cryptosonic Second Edition:

NFT Collectible, $422
Features artwork from Shepard Fairey and music by Mike Dean
April 23rd at 12am EST, on sale for 15 minutes

Cryptosonic Third Edition:

NFT Collectible, $422
Features artwork from Shepard Fairey and music by Mike Dean
April 23rd at 12am EST, on sale for 15 minutes

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