An iconic image created by a once-struggling street artist has the power to captivate and transform a country. The decision to adopt has the power to save a life. Put the two together, and you have a rock solid plan for how to spread the word about the importance of pet adoption.
At least that's what I thought when I picked up the phone to call someone I only knew at that point as "the guy who did the Hope poster." And I boy was I right!!
Following Barack Obama's acceptance speech, in which he mentioned adding a dog to his family, I thought how great it would be to have a hopeful image to promote pet adoption and educate people about its importance. After all, the animals who share our nation are non-partisan, and they deserve hope and progress too! So with nothing to lose I found out "that guy's" name and called artist Shepard Fairey in his Los Angeles studio. He called me right back, and we got chatting about his own dogs, my work with Adopt-a-pet.com and the plight of shelter animals.
Soon enough, he was happily on board to lend his voice, and we got to brainstorming about what image we might use. I sent him some photos that my photographer friend Clay Myers shot, and one of them immediately reminded Shepard of a Honey, a shelter mutt he had as a child. And so the ADOPT image was born! In the picture, Shepard has the dog's tag read "A Mutt Like Me" to quote Obama's reference to wanting to get a shelter dog that was a mix like him. It all seemed meant to be!
The down-to-earth Mr. Fairey has been named Icon Maker of the Year by Time magazine and seen his Hope image inducted as a national treasure into the Smithsonian. But none of this fanfare has derailed this prolific artist from his mission of using art to help the underserved. And his talents have already gone far to help us at Adopt-a-Pet.com, North America's largest non-profit pet adoption website, get shelter animals seen and adopted into loving homes .
Earlier this year we released the first ADOPT image in the iconic red and blue color scheme, and the limited edition run of 400 signed prints sold out in under 90 minutes!
Our collaboration with Shepard continues in full force, and today we are releasing the second ADOPT image in regal gold and black. This time, the dog's tag offers a powerful call to action regarding adoption: "Lead by Example." It is our hope that animal advocates and art lovers alike take this simple message to heart and speak out on behalf of the millions of shelter animals in need of homes at this very moment.
As Shepard puts it, "The 'Lead By Example' ADOPT image is a powerful one, and it is my hope that this new print will give people a way to advocate for these animals and show their support for pet adoption." Shepard's own dedication to all victims of injustice, regardless of species, provides a true example of what it means to "Lead By Example."
It has been a real pleasure working with Shepard on this project. And I have come to realize that anyone and everyone can play a role in helping our shelters animals. Shepard's use of his talent and the resultant power of an image to transform peoples' perspective is heartening. We must never underestimate the power we have within each of us to use our unique talents to make an impact and to "lead by example."
About the Print
All proceeds from Shepard Fairey's ADOPT images go to support the work of Adopt-a-Pet.com in getting North America's homeless pets seen and saved.
A limited edition run of 400 signed/numbered screen prints will go on sale today, Sept. 24 at a random time.
But adoption supporters don't have to spend $200 signed print to spread the word. T-shirts, dog bandanas and stickers with the ADOPT image are also available for those who wish to show their support for this lifesaving cause. You can even download the image or use it as a badge for your Web site or social networking page. Bark your support for the world to hear!
In order for all of you art-loving, adoption-supporters to have a chance to purchase the signed/numbered Shepard Fairey "Lead By Example" ADOPT print, they are limited to one per customer. Also be sure to sign up for alerts of future print sales.
To search for adoptable pets in your area, visit Martha's pet adoption center, created in collaboration with Adopt-a-Pet.com.
Dr. Pia Salk