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.