Tag Archives: Shepard Fairey

Oh – this is rich! Fairey beat up by fellow travelers!

Shepard Fairey

Funny, no mention in the story of the lawsuit against him by the AP for lifting their photo and making this poster. No mention of erasing his computer of said photo. No mention of his arrest in Boston for defacing a building with his street graffiti.

I gotta wonder how he likes all the graffiti on his monument.

But he’s not marching to the tune that these particular leftists expect him to, so he gets beat up! This is too funny, as far as I’m concerned.

The iconic Obama poster and street artist, Shepard Fairey. from modernpeacock.com

The YES WE CAN crowd feeling a little HOPE-less

Quietly and slowly, the Obamatrons are speaking out about disappointment in their Messiah. My goodness, he’s turned out to be just another politician, albeit one with no true principles, but another just the same.

After 20 months, all the promises of “Hope ‘n Change and He’ll pay my bills” have not materialized for these awestruck supporters:

Where is Peggy now? Who’s paying her bills? I’d bet it’s you and me. She said if she helps Obama, he will help her. What’s he done for her (and the rest of us) lately? I wish I had the finances to find this lady today and ask her how many mortgage payments Obama’s paid for her.

The lawsuit beleaguered and talentless artist to the King, who banked big off of this Messiah, is now feeling a little empty in the heart:

“Looking at Obama’s standpoint on various policies, it was like, ‘Why throw all these particular projectiles over the wall… when I could put all those things in one projectile that I could hurl over the wall,'” Fairey said in a phone interview from Los Angeles, where he lives. “Obama was the delivery device in theory. Now, I realize that he maybe is not the correct delivery device, and I’ll just deal with those issues separately.”

Shepard Fairey and his iconic poster

This lady finally asked the one question that I think, crystallizes how all Americans are feeling:

But the solution to all this hopelessness is in the TEA party. The answer to her question of “is this my new reality” is the message of the TEA party. We are not going to sit by and let this nation go down the drain under the spell that this phony Messiah cast over so many.

We weren’t duped and we are going to undupe the duped.

The real hope of a better reality is in the message of the TEA party: less spending, less regulations, less government.  And the real outcome is more prosperity for all.

Paint by Numbers: Our Founding Fathers

from Glenn Beck's website

As much as I respect the message that Beck is sending with his Faith, Hope and Charity posters, I’m bothered by the non-originality and mediocre artistic talent they exhibit.

Let’s not forget Shepard Fairey is nothing more than a street “artist” – a graffiti painter – a tagger. He’s done nothing but paint over an original AP photograph. I’ve written before about how this is done and how easy it is to do. A little Photoshop education, and anyone can do this. It takes no talent. Obama Hope is nothing more than a paint by numbers, just as what Beck’s posters are.

And something is diminished in them when Beck goes to Fairey for his inspiration. The message is loud and clear: a second rate knock off of a third rate artist.  Every time the Obama Hope poster is used as inspiration for anything more serious than this:

the subject is trivialized.  It cheapens the inspiration and the message, but more importantly, it intensely diminishes the heroic subjects;  i.e. Jefferson, Washington, Franklin and

Can’t we be more original and pay homage to our great leaders without relying on a no-talent spray painter to show us the way?

Fairey will go down in art (and political) history as being like Warhol – in the right circle of friends, at the right time. And being the no-talent spring board for a very poor representation of our admiration for our greatest heros.

Fairey – hypocrital, no talent thief

Exactly as I’ve thought all along. Fairey stole an image and PHOTOSHOPPED it. I have seen this same allegation in 3 articles regarding his “HOPE” poster and anyone who’s used Photoshop to tweek a photo, knows how easy this is to do and also knows what they are seeing when they see it.

Remember, this is about TECHNIQUE, not TALENT.

Almost like Warhol, Fairey arrived on a scene at the right time, ingratiated himself with the right people and made a name for himself – ALMOST. Now he’s famous as a no talent, common thief with a poster hanging in the National Gallery.


From Stage Right at BigHollywood.com

Those actors on stage during act one who see a red light in the house indicating a video camera is on them….  They will go right off stage and demand that the stage manager do something. The stage manager then tells the house manager, the house manager tells the usher, and THAT’s why you are being distracted by a seventy-year-old woman climbing over three rows of seats trying to wrestle a camcorder from an unsuspecting patron during “Phantom of the Opera.” It’s not because the red light is distracting them… it’s because they are protecting their performance and their image from being duplicated and distributed without their permission.  It is their right.  Just as it is the right of a professional photographer to protect their product from being copied, slightly altered and re-distributed without THEIR permission.

So imagine my surprise when I didn’t see one person from the Writers’ Guild or from SAG cheering on the AP.  How could they not?  The writer’s just endured an industry-crippling strike and the major issue was residual payments for use of their product on the Internet.  Though Internet re-plays of “30 Rock” is not exactly the same as barely photo-shopping a photo and distributing it as art, but the core principal is the same:  A work of art or entertainment must be protected from duplication or re-distribution or the entire copyright edifice will begin to crumble.  Michael Moore was so thrilled with the WGA in their unwavering position on the webcasts, that he gushed to the LA Times:

“This is an historic moment for labor in this country, …To have the writers union stand up like we did, not give back a single thing and make them give — it was a really great moment to sit in there and listen to everything.”

So why are Moore and other left-leaning artists, writers and directors relatively silent on the Fairey issue?  You would think that the protection of intellectual property is something they would champion.

The question answers itself. Fairey is an artist who uses his art for the right reasons. He helped get Obama elected.  He made a great poster in support of same-sex marriage.  He gave President Bush fangs and a trickle of blood down his chin in another poster.  “So what if he broke copyright laws… his art is effective, he’s cool, and he thinks like us, we will look away.”  I love the smell of cognitive dissonance in the morning.

Before you lefties start flaming the comments with claims that Fairey made no money off of the poster so there is no infringement…  understand one thing:  Whether Fairey made money or not, it doesn’t matter with regard to copyright laws.  I can’t put on a production of “Wicked” at the local high school gym as long as I don’t charge any money for tickets.  I can’t make copies of the DVD of “Titanic” and start handing them out for free on the street.  You MUST know that, right?

And by the way, to suggest that Mr. Fairey has not benefitted from his association with the “Hope” poster is disingenuous at best.  Mr. Fairey is currently enjoying the honor of having a special exhibition of his work at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.  A hand-crafted collage version of the “Hope” poster is now in the Smithsonian.  If you think that the sale of future Fairey works will not be influenced by this, you don’t understand market economics.  Also, just because Fairey might not have made any direct income from the poster, does not mean that someone didn’t make any, most notably, the Obama campaign and transition teams.

In all of my searching for some sort of outcry over Fairey’s use of protected work for his poster, I did find an interesting trend.  It seems that in the past, one of the champions of copyright protection with regard to these types of images and artwork has been none other than Shepard Fairey.  You see, before “Hope” there was “Obey,” Fairey’s breakout poster in which he used a photo of wrestler Andre the Giant, modified the image, and affixed the word “Obey.” The iconic image was adapted recently by artist Baxter Orr.  Orr gave Andre a SARS surgical mask and gave it the caption, “Protect Yourself.” What did “Fair-use Fairey” do?  He sued Baxter Orr.  Orr cries hypocrisy:  “”It’s ridiculous for someone who built their empire on appropriating other people’s images,” he said. “Obey Giant has become like Tide and Coca-Cola.”  Fairey’s gentlemanly response?  He called Orr a “parasite.”

Faireys Obey and Orrs Obey with SARS mask

Fairey's Obey and Orr's Obey with SARS mask

But this is only Fairey’s protection of his famous “Obey” icon, right?  He doesn’t care what people do with his “Hope” poster…  that was all done for free and to benefit the Obama campaign, right?  Well….  It seems that many of the posters that got distributed to Obama supporters at events were found on eBay auctions (those damn capitalists) and Mr. Fairey was not amused.  He demanded that eBay take down the auctions, his website called the people engaged in the sale as “greedy” and he subsequently opened up a page for the exclusive sale of signed “Hope” posters.

Any director, writer or actor interested in making long-term money in the entertainment industry should be calling Fairey what he is:  A plagiarist.  But they won’t.  And they won’t protest for an end to the Afghan war even though casualties are mounting under President Obama’s watch.  And they won’t claim President Obama is taking away their freedoms even though he extended President Bush’s declaration of national emergency this past September 10th (something the left continually criticized President Bush for).

One wonders what fault, if any, the left will find in this President or his loyal supporters like Fairey.

Coming soon: Shepard Fairey’s Tole Painting Class

As a one time art major (until I figured out that I could not make the kind of living that I wanted to make) I can explain something about pop art and how truly bogus *most* of  it is.

And this is how easy it is for you to do at home:

Take a photo of Campbell’s tomato soup, for instance. No, really.  Take a photo of it. Put it in a projector/enlarger that reflects on a canvas or watercolor paper or wall. Pencil the photo onto the canvas or wall. Then, start painting or coloring it in.

That’s how easy it is. That’s what Warhol basically could do with a soup can or a photo of Marilyn Monroe or any number of famous people. That’s how I painted a mural, in high school, of Minnie Mouse on a hallway at my alma mater. (Now to be clear, this is not exactly how Warhol did it. He silk screened the image of Marilyn onto canvas.)

Called Gold Marilyn Monroe this is Warhols portrait that hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

Called "Gold Marilyn Monroe" this is Warhol's portrait that hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

Photoshop and other web sites online will also allow you to take a photo (maybe of yourself) and add effects that make it look like a cartoon or a painting. (And considering that Fairey admits to deleting computer files, I have to wonder how much Photoshop or similar software was used in his Obama poster.)

With these “techniques” anyone can be an artist. Kinda like dummy-ing down art or maybe “Art for Idiots” or to be less offensive, “Art for the Paint Brush Challenged.”

So, this brings me to Shepard Fairey and his now infamous portrait of Obama.

From the beginning, this guy was a thief. He stole an idea, an image and modeled it with “technique.” That’s all he did. Technique cannot be confused with talent. Anyone can learn a technique, but not everyone has a talent or a gift.

Fairey is a street graffiti artist; in street vernacular, he is a tagger. He is nothing more than that. And now with his latest admission that he lied to his attorneys (in addition to the court and everyone else) that he used another photo rather than the one that the AP claims he used and his admission that he deleted computer files to cover up his lies, he will never be anything more than that. And any art piece he does from this point on will be viewed as suspect.

Anyone can learn the iambic pentameter of a sonnet and write one. But not just anyone can be William Shakespeare or write anything like he did. Anyone can learn the technique of painting on wet plaster (fresco) but not just anyone can do Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel.

Look familiar? Its my avatar: the finger of God and at the creation of Adam.

Look familiar? It's my avatar: the finger of God at the creation of Adam. From the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo.

Anyone can learn Photoshop software and do this:

You guess it: that's my face, imposed over a Chaplin photo.

You guessed it: that's my face, imposed over a Chaplin photo.

But not just anyone can be Charlie Chaplin.

From this point on, Shepard Fairey will be nothing more than a man who learned some techniques and arrived at *almost* the right historical place at the right historical time.

Warhol pulled it off. Fairey never will.

The AP photo and the Fairey rip-off.

The AP photo and the Fairey rip-off.

More at BigHollywood.com.

Older but interesting perspective from the LA Times.