Shepard Fairey Reader

Shepard Fairey

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The Last Shadow Puppets

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By Shepard Fairey in New Music on Saturday 21 March 2009

I’m a big fan of Alex Turner’s side project, The Last Shadow Puppets. It’s just really good music. When I first got their record, I didn’t know if it was a re-issue or if it was brand new. It doesn’t sound like a jokey pastiche. It sounds sincere.

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Al Farrow’s gun part sculptures

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By Shepard Fairey in New Art on Tuesday 20 January 2009

Al Farrow just did a show with me at the Martin Irvine Gallery in Washington DC. He builds religious reliquaries and mosques out of gun parts: AK47s and Uzis, in particular. They’re really beautiful. It sounds gimmicky but it’s actually extraordinary. The newer stuff that he’s doing is extremely time-consuming. His work is very meticulous, and the beauty of the craft is a striking contrast to how instantly and senselessly life can be taken.

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The futuristic retro sounds of DJ Z-Trip

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By Shepard Fairey in New Trends on Tuesday 20 January 2009

This guy is my favorite DJ. He’s the inventor of the mash-up, but his skills go way beyond that. I love to DJ, but when i do, I play a lot of classics. I don’t stick to new stuff because I’m not trying to pull out the top forty banger for the club. That’s what […]

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Roberto Mollá

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By Shepard Fairey in New Art on Sunday 18 January 2009

I bought three pieces of Spanish artist Roberto Mollá’s work at the recent Art Basel show in Miami, which we both exhibited at. He works on off-white graph paper, which immediately sets up this very firm grid, and then he paints these very graphic black and white patterns into certain areas of the composition. He also does larger things, like circles and teardrops of red paint, around which he works these incredibly meticulous pencil drawings in various styles. If a graffiti artist was also an impeccable illustrator, this is what the work would look like. It’s all based on a foundation of anatomy, but it’s drawing upon the style of traditional Japanese artwork at the same time. So in one of his pieces, for instance, there is a woman riding on a Koi fish with a screen design of trees behind her. The tension between all these elements is fascinating. At a glance they are graphically powerful, but then they also have this meticulous subtlety which is just beautiful.

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Blu’s giant wall art

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By Shepard Fairey in New Art on Saturday 17 January 2009

Not only is the scale of the things Italian street artist Blu is doing on the street, impressive — he does these huge pieces with just rollers with long extensions — even more amazing is how quickly he works. If you haven’t seen the stop motion animation he did, you should. It’s an animation on the walls of a street in which he’s painting, then buffing, then painting it again, with a succession of characters moving all around. It’s just insane how much work it takes to create these things. I don’t think anyone has ever done anything like it.

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Judith Supine

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By Shepard Fairey in New Art on Friday 16 January 2009

My background is in street art and there are a lot of people historically who I’ve really liked. But in terms of new people, I particularly love the work of Brooklyn artist Judith Supine. It’s a surreal combination of old engraving art mixed with hand-drawn and painted images. He does paste up posters, but they’re not just square, they’re cut-out shapes of these interesting looking characters. The closest thing I could compare it to are the Monty Python animations.

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JR’s blown up photographs

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By Shepard Fairey in New Art on Saturday 10 January 2009

The French photographer and street artist, JR, has stepped up his game in an impressive way in recent times. He does huge xerox blow-ups of his own photographs and has done stuff in New York, Paris, and London. He did some huge work on the side of London’s Tate Modern, for instance. When I met the guy in Paris in 2003, he was doing 18×24 paste ups, and now he’s doing work that’s multiple stories high. It probably helps that he’s backed by Steve Lazarides, who was Banksy’s agent for a while. He’s got a big crew and some serious financial resources now. There are two components to effective street art: accessibility and the spectacle. Does it give me pause from the monotony of my usual day? JR may not be so much about the DIY anymore, but he’s definitely all about the spectacle.

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