Interview: Shepard Fairey

By EVAN J. GARZA  |  January 27, 2009

When I put my work into a museum, or a gallery, I try to maintain the spirit of what's on the street, but I make something that is a little bit more refined and has more subtleties, more depth, and more of a seductive surface quality. I make all the work with the exact same techniques I use for the street, so the spirit of the street is there. I feel like there's a fairly seamless connection.

What influence does your clothing line have on how your art is perceived?
I think clothing is an unintimidating canvas for my graphics. And no matter how much people say that's going to devalue my fine art, I'm always going to do it.

What's your most fucked-up arrest story?
There've been a few. Denver wasn't great because I literally had a gun pointed at my head for putting posters up at the DNC. But the worst one was in 2003. I got arrested in Chinatown [New York City] doing a billboard. Got beaten up by the cops. They were telling me, "Fucking stop! Don't move! We'll shoot you," and I knew they weren't going to shoot me for putting a poster on a blank billboard. Once I'm cuffed, they're tackling me and punching me in the street. One of the cops cut his knuckle on the ground trying to punch me in the face. So they pressed felony charges against me, and luckily there were some witnesses and so the case was dropped. . . . All in all, compared to all the stuff I've done, I've gotten off pretty easily.

We got pulled over earlier today by an undercover cop. I jumped out of the car and put a sticker on a pole. And the next thing you know, an unmarked car pulls up. [Makes siren noise] That's why we were late getting here.

< prev  1  |  2  | 
Related: Vandal-in-chief, Photos: Shepard Fairey, Z-Trip, Chuck D at the ICA, Review: Shepard Fairey + Z-Trip + Chuck D, More more >
  Topics: Lifestyle Features , Barack Obama, Barack Obama, Denver,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   DISCOTECHNIQUE  |  June 11, 2009
    Break out your hottest moves — a forthcoming exhibition in South Boston asserts that the path to abstraction could go through dancing.
  •   MARITIME AFTER TIME  |  June 03, 2009
    There's no question about the Peabody Essex Museum's unwavering love of all things nautical. How many other museums employ a curator of maritime art and history (in this case, Daniel Finamore)?
  •   STAYCATION  |  May 28, 2009
    With some contemporary-art spaces holding off on summer programming, June's First Friday celebration at the Harrison Avenue galleries may be the strongest one until the fall season, when both the traffic and the collectors return.
  •   FOLK MY BRAINS OUT  |  May 19, 2009
    Toby Kamp's 'The Old, Weird America: Folk Themes In Contemporary Art' at The Decordova Museum
  •   VIVA MODERNISM  |  May 12, 2009
    Long before the threat of swine flu, Mexico was the scene of an outbreak of a very different kind: Modernism.

 See all articles by: EVAN J. GARZA