Shepard Fairey’s creepy, vaguely communist iconography helped propel Barack Obama to the White House. As it turns out, that was the high point for both of them.
Famed street artist Shepard Fairey, who visited Detroit last month to create the largest mural of his career, faces felony charges of tagging other properties across the city on his own time.
A warrant for his arrest was filed in 36th District Court on Friday. He faces two counts of malicious destruction of property, which carry a maximum penalty of five years in jail, plus fines that could exceed $10,000.
Police, who accuse the artist of causing about $9,000 in damage, said that the next time he comes to Detroit, they will arrest him if he doesn’t turn himself in first.
“Just because he is a well-known artist does not take away the fact that he is also a vandal,” said Detroit Police Sgt. Rebecca McKay, who oversees the city’s graffiti task force.
And, of course, a hypocrite. The Eastsider, 8/10/09:
After pleading guilty to vandalism charges in Boston over his guerrilla art tactics, artist Shepard Fairey had to deal with acts of vandalism closer to home. A few days ago workers sandblasted the brick exterior of his Echo Park studio, gallery and ad agency – called Studio Number One – and applied a shiny layer of anti-graffiti coating to the walls. Frequent tagging and graffiti had apparently taken a toll on the Sunset Boulevard building and Fairey, who rose to fame by employing the same hit-and-run tactics of graffiti artists and taggers.
“When graff seeped into the raw brick it was very difficult to clean,” said Fairey, creator of the Obama “Hope” poster, in an email forwarded by one of his employees. “The building is historic and I love and want to protect the brick. The city was never any help with removal. Graffiti is par for the course.”
You damn kids get off his studio!
Shepard Fairey is a true relic of the Era of Obama. The motto is: It’s different when we do it.