Part of the Power to the Patients campaign, the back wall of the Morean Arts Center in St. Petersburg now features artwork by OBEY creator and street artist, Shepard Fairey – most famous for his iconic Obama “Hope” poster – completed by the renowned St. Petersburg artist sibling group, the Vitale Brothers.
Featuring a clenched fist and the phrase “prices are now a patient’s right” on the art center’s wall at 719 Central Avenue, Johnny, Paul and Joey Vitale completed the piece in April.
While Fairey’s worldwide brand, OBEY, is commonly seen on hoodies, beanies and stickers, he started out graffiting political messages on public spaces. The artist and activist went back to his roots, creating mural designs in New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, and now St. Petersburg for the national campaign.
A Street Art Campaign
The OBEY creator launched the project in an effort to bring awareness to unfair medical bills and hidden costs following a patient’s care.
“Patients deserve to know the prices of the procedures that they need ahead of time. They need to have the power to make good choices,” Fairey writes on the campaign’s website. “It’s enough stress to be in need of healthcare, we don’t need to add to that stress with hidden costs.”
Fairey’s campaign reached out to the Vitale Brother’s to “copy” Fairey’s work, likely because of their strong presence in the St. Petersburg arts community.
They’ve been painting St. Petersburg since 1992, with work for the Tampa Bay Rays and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, among many others on their resume.
“Paul and I started painting murals after working for a billboard company called Flexco,” Vitale said. “We lost our jobs when the billboard world went digital.”
Joey, the youngest brother, joined the crew shortly after.
“(St. Petersburg is) our home and it’s a special place to be artists,” Johnny said.