Shepard Fairey’s Prints—and His Biggest Mural Ever—in Detroit
Street artist Shepard Fairey has headed to Detroit, putting together an exhibition that encompasses a history of his prints, several new public works, and his largest mural ever.
Those who know Fairey only from his “Obey Giant” stickers or his iconic-turned-infamous Barack Obama “Hope” poster will discover many different sides of the artist in the exhibition “Printed Matters: Creation & Destruction.” Located at Detroit’s Library Street Collective, the show is the latest edition of the traveling “Printed Matters” exhibition series, which kicked off in Los Angeles in 2010, and celebrates all things printed, including works on paper, editions on wood, monographs on metal, and collages. Fairey’s new show includes both new works and prime examples of the artist’s long love affair with screenprinting.
“I’m a product of the era of mass production and the mass culture it has created. I can’t imagine my art practice without the influence of, and the use of, printing,” Fairey has said. “Some of my biggest art influences were not paintings, but printed things like album covers, skateboard graphics, punk flyers, and t-shirt designs.” In his pieces, he has long combined these influences with the look of propaganda posters to create crisp graphic statements that riff on global politics and economic issues.
Fairey is the second artist ever to participate in Library Street Collective’s public-art program, Public Matters, for which he has created five large-scale paintings to be displayed in The Belt, a new art-filled alley located between two wings of a parking garage in downtown Detroit. The project also includes a permanent contribution to The Belt—an 11,408-square-foot mural on the Compuware Building. Completed using 300 cans of paint with the help of three assistants over the course of 10 days, the mural features a grid of yellow and red diamonds. On top of it is the famous “Obey Giant” icon that started it all.
“Shepard Fairey: Printed Matters ‘Creation & Destruction’” is on view at Library Street Collective, Detroit, May 22–Aug. 15, 2015.