Los Angeles street artist Shepard Fairey recently visited Art Center to discuss the art of profiting off his pieces — something critics have accused him of doing too well.
Fairey narrated a 22-minute show focused mostly on his personal rather than commercial works, including his first “Obey” sticker of Andre the Giant, as part of the Graphic Design Department’s 3×3 lecture series featuring Creative Entrepreneurs.
The stencil with Andre’s weight and height Fairey created after his freshman year of college is a far cry from the Obey propaganda-style street art (and fashion line) that was to come.
“I was making posters of things I cared about, criticizing capitalism while selling stuff to people,” he said. “Scrutizing capitalism is the less hypocritical way of putting it.”
Fairey, who says he’s a proponent of socially conscious capitalism, shared his career low points, including a screen printing business that went belly up and his much publicized and legally contested “Hope” poster of Barack Obama.
(Last week Fairey received a sentence of two years’ probation and a $25,000 fine in his legal battle with the Associated Press over the use of an AP photo.)
Fairey also shared his successes: his (low-paying) design for the Occupy movement that landed him the high-profile cover of Time magazine.