FDL Late Night: Shepard Fairey Makes Art Not War

 

My neighborhood just got an art upgrade from Shepard Fairey. Our local independent hardware and art supply store Baller Hardware, which is a perfect name for a store in Silver Lake, had a huge boring beige wall, so Fairey, who is friends with the owner and shops at Baller, spent the last two days with a two (cute) dude crew putting up a mural. Since it’s just down the road from me, I went back a few times and documented the process.

I’d never seen how a big mural is done–and there are different methods, of course. For this, Fairey used a series of stencils which were spray glued to the wall (which has a bumpy, lumpy and chunky surface), then sliced out and sprayed over. The technique is a version of one used in the Renaissance for murals, minus the spray paint.  Fairey does use a brush at times, but he sprays paint onto a piece of cardboard and uses that as his pallete. He also uses cardboard stencils for lettering then touches up the gaps by blocking off areas with painters tape.

Fairey and his crew were generous with their space, allowing me to get close-up for shots, and Fairey answered a few questions about public art versus unauthorized street art. He said that illicit street art can and has opened doors for artists, but not all street art is good art–and that the problem with “public art” is that it can get mired down in bureaucracy. (So can private art, as I reported a while ago).

The mural’s slogan “Make Art Not War” prompted one passer by to remark to me

It should say “Fund Art, Not War”

but given the way the government is going, I’ll be happy if The Powers That Be just stop warring and leave us to modge-podge, needlepoint, paint, and sculpt in peace.

You can see even more photos at CARTWHEELart.com.

 

30 Responses to "FDL Late Night: Shepard Fairey Makes Art Not War"
DrDick | Tuesday February 26, 2013 08:07 pm 1

That is pretty awesome and you are lucky to live in a place where such a well known artist lives and works. The City of Missoula has commissioned a lot of public art. One of my favorites is the traffic signal boxes.


EvilDrPuma | Tuesday February 26, 2013 08:26 pm 2
In response to DrDick @ 1

Neat. Iowa City has been doing something similar with the many park benches in our downtown pedestrian mall. (One of the benches appears to be a love letter to a Chinese student who was in one of my writing sections last semester. Still haven’t figured that one out.)


Lisa Derrick | Tuesday February 26, 2013 08:26 pm 3

In LA a lot of homeowners have gotten grief for having murals on their retaining walls. It’s kinda lousy of the city. I am thinking of having my chimney muraled just to see what will happen…


VMT | Tuesday February 26, 2013 08:34 pm 4

I don’t think his image really fits the concept art. I think it’s more like branding or ornamentation. Don’t get me wrong, I think he renders the image well, but I don’t find it all that compelling. The slogan is trite and his signature is just his brand name. It’s frosting for urban consumers who like their walls modeled after glossy fashion magazine ads lying around boutique salons. Just my two cents.


Lisa Derrick | Tuesday February 26, 2013 08:39 pm 5
In response to VMT @ 4

beats the hell out of the tagging we get around here–not even artistic graffiti, just scrawls, or gang names.


eCAHNomics | Tuesday February 26, 2013 08:43 pm 6
In response to VMT @ 4

Oy, now you’ve gotten yourself in the middle of what economists would dub an externality battle. IOW, in trad econ you are “allowed”, “free”, (choose your value laden word) to do whatever you want with your “own” resources, as long as you don’t negatively influence others.

Does grafitti, messages on chimneys, whatever, create visual pollution that creates negative externalities.

Ducking under computer stand while brick bats are thrown.


Lisa Derrick | Tuesday February 26, 2013 08:45 pm 7
In response to eCAHNomics @ 6

A local homeowner had a local artist paint a mural of happy bears dancing with bees and flowers on their retaining wall which faces the street. They were fined.


Kelly Canfield | Tuesday February 26, 2013 08:53 pm 8
In response to eCAHNomics @ 6

Does creating responses to government inquiries negate what you did with Herb, i.e. talking him to death? Where he shot himself?

Is that somehow some kind of conspiracy? And does that make it somehow more worthy than before? And do you have a part in that? And who benefited?

Just asking…


VMT | Tuesday February 26, 2013 08:54 pm 9
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 5

I’m not arguing against its aesthetic benefits. I enjoy baroque ornamentation as much as the next guy (http://www.artsparx.com/adamstyle.asp). I just think it doesn’t deserve as much attention as art that actually defamiliarizes things rather than endlessly repeating conventional and forgettable thoughts (Make love not war). Of course, most public imagery is ornamentation and that’s not a bad thing, but I think it’s important to remember it as such so when something comes along that genuinely challenges convention (advertising) that it isn’t overlooked.


eCAHNomics | Tuesday February 26, 2013 08:55 pm 10
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 7

Not making judgement, raising issue. I didn’t see the retaining wall so can’t comment on artistic value, not that my opinion would matter.

i havw bee hivez, no real bears have attacked them yet. Haven’t seen happy dances. From what I understand, bees & bears are not friends.


VMT | Tuesday February 26, 2013 08:56 pm 11
In response to VMT @ 9

I meant advertising as an example of convention.


eCAHNomics | Tuesday February 26, 2013 08:58 pm 12
In response to eCAHNomics @ 10

Wow, excuse typos. Thought I had reread for them. Late night finger freeze.


bgrothus | Tuesday February 26, 2013 09:06 pm 13

I like the graphics. Thanks for posting, Lisa.


VMT | Tuesday February 26, 2013 09:15 pm 14

My apologies if I’ve offended anybody. I think it’s a cool image. I think it beats having a bare wall. I just wanted to stir up a little debate about art, but I usually come on too strong. There is nothing wrong with liking the image. You should, however, have your head examined if you like those current AT&T commercials with the little kids seated in a circle with that corporate executive who asks them things like, “Is it better when things are faster?”


wynota skunk | Tuesday February 26, 2013 09:15 pm 15
In response to EvilDrPuma @ 2

There were murals in River City in the ’70s. Probably left when they built The Mall/Parking Structure just up the hill from the School of Journalism. I hope The Vine and George’s are still there.


eCAHNomics | Tuesday February 26, 2013 09:20 pm 16
In response to VMT @ 14

Palestinians are doing grafitti on Izzie walls as protest.


Lisa Derrick | Tuesday February 26, 2013 09:25 pm 17
In response to eCAHNomics @ 10

there’sa link ot the bears image in the article (in the sentence: So can private art, as I reported a while ago).

One major street artist Retna is now designing scarves for Vuitton, and many street artists have deals wiht toy companies, clothing manufacturers, etc. There are ad agencies why match street artists with merch to create ad campaigns. And there’s no shame in commercial art: Michaelangelo was a commercial artist…


eCAHNomics | Tuesday February 26, 2013 09:31 pm 18
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 17

Michaelangelo was a commercial artist…

Yes, in the finest tradition of Madison Avenue.

Retna is now designing scarves for Vuitton, and many street artists have deals wiht toy companies, clothing manufacturers, etc. There are ad agencies why match street artists with merch to create ad campaigns.

Yeppers, no other reason to be an artist in 2013 than to create scarves for Vuitton and toys.


Lisa Derrick | Tuesday February 26, 2013 09:37 pm 19
In response to eCAHNomics @ 18

A lot of artists hope to hit that jackpot. BTW I was at the LA Art Show and Norman Rockwell paintings (and not even very famous ones, more like shoe ads) we going for the cost of a decent LA house/NY apt.


VMT | Tuesday February 26, 2013 09:48 pm 20
In response to eCAHNomics @ 16

Interesting. Thanks for posting.


eCAHNomics | Tuesday February 26, 2013 09:49 pm 21
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 19

I snark but have a little more connection with modern art than I usually admit.

Hitting jackpot. How rare is that. I have a very good friend who is a good artist who is doomed to penury bc she is not in the swing.

OTOH another of my HS classmates is famous, owing to no special artistic value of her work but rather to whom she met and sucked up to while in NYC in the day.


eCAHNomics | Tuesday February 26, 2013 09:54 pm 22
In response to VMT @ 20

I am a pop culture moron but do recognize a socially impt display when I see one


VMT | Tuesday February 26, 2013 09:55 pm 23
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 19

I was in an urban high school not too long ago and the teacher was presenting a unit on graffiti, art, advertising, vandalism, tagging, etc. and the general consensus among the students and teachers was that “selling out” was a notion created by people who had enough money to afford such rarefied views of the world; for everybody else selling out was just the way it works. I think I have the problem of not being able to accept the real world. I prefer my make-believe world where art can actually ennoble a human being without simultaneously being a brand.


bgrothus | Tuesday February 26, 2013 10:06 pm 24
In response to eCAHNomics @ 21

The art world is incredibly sexist. It is hardly uncommon that women artists have found attention due to the proximity of their work to the dealers and collectors of their husbands, boyfriends or their male friends. That does not mean that their work is unworthy, of course.

If people can make a living selling commercial art to anyone who will pay them for it, I am not going to cast aspersions over it.


eCAHNomics | Tuesday February 26, 2013 10:09 pm 25
In response to VMT @ 23

Lisa’s point on Michaelangelo being a commercial artist of his day is cogent as far as it goes. Artists in MA’s day relied on patrons for life support. Those connections were religious. I am not edumacated enough to know whether MA’s and RC’s interests coincided enough so that neither compromised their values, one being the commercial buyer, the other being the commercial seller.


eCAHNomics | Tuesday February 26, 2013 10:11 pm 26
In response to bgrothus @ 24

I am not going to cast aspersions over it.

One may post an opinion as to the “artistic” content.


VMT | Tuesday February 26, 2013 10:15 pm 27
In response to eCAHNomics @ 25

She makes an excellent point. I wonder how much my appreciation of an artwork is tied up with my romantic notions of what an artist should be. I obviously prefer the Van Gogh/Frans Hals archetype and its a bias I bring to interpretation of art work. I wish I could purge myself of the bias, but I know its there and affects my experience. I don’t have much of an idea of what the best or correct orientation to have toward art is either. *Sigh*


eCAHNomics | Tuesday February 26, 2013 10:24 pm 28
In response to VMT @ 27

What’s the diff. Susan Rothenberg got the brass ring, regardless of her values as an “artist.” It is what it is (world’s worst cliche). Enough typed. Retiring.

Be well all.


nixonclinbushbama | Tuesday February 26, 2013 11:29 pm 29

Good for Fairey for doing it and good for you for documenting it.

and, yes, Baller Hardware and Shepherd Fairey are both good names.


textynn | Wednesday February 27, 2013 10:07 am 30

I love that mural. It is stone cold gorgeous. What a talent.


Sorry but the comments are closed on this post

Close