This weeks 3 questions is in regards to the legendary street artist Shepard Fairey. Fairey is probably best known for his depictions of Andre the Giant most notably in Los Angeles. Fairey more recently; and more locally, is known for creating a massive mural for Campus Martius which he was commissioned for. He’s in the news for the so called graffiti he left in 14 different pre-tagged buildings all over Detroit. He was arrested in Los Angeles for these same “so called crimes” he committed in the D.
Arguably, law enforcement has set a precedent for this when they charged two 19 year old teens with 60 hours community service and a $2000 fine. An argument can be made that Detroit is being tough on vandalism. The community that once thrived fell into disrepair and began to thrive again. There has been a fight against blight and over 6000 condemned buildings have been leveled in Detroit since 2014. One has to ask if what Shepard Fairey did is truly a crime. In this blogger’s mind, Fairey was beautifying not defacing existing blight.
What did Shepard Fairey do that got him into trouble in Detroit?
While Fairey was in Detroit creating a 184 foot tall commissioned piece for Campus Martius he did some extracurricular activities that got him in hot water. All in the damage done is said to have totaled between $20,000-$30,000. His crimes carry a 5-year jail sentence if convicted. His crimes…well you decide if these are crimes at all. It’s a judgment call.
What buildings in Detroit did Shepard Fairey Tag?
Have a look at just a few of the buildings that Shepard Fairey so-called desecrated. Are they better off or worse? It’s a judgment call that can only be made on a person by person basis. Yes, graffiti is a crime, but is this indeed graffiti? Is this blight or is this beauty?
Blight or Right?
Is this better or worse than the blight that already existed? If this is a crime then I fully support a criminal. Fairey’s work evokes as well as inspires. If this is graffiti than what exactly is art? Understandably this is not something that was asked for, but is it any worse than the countless tags that litter the city? Is it worse than the random curse words sprayed on a wall by disgruntled youth? Is this a desecration?
If this is wrong I don’t want to be right!
As a youth I grew up going down to the streets of Detroit. I spent time at St. Andrews hall, the State Theater, City Club, Monday Night at the Movies and… I spent time in a much worse place than the city finds itself in today. I would have been happy to see Fairey’s art lining the streets than the random taggers posts or fuck you sprayed on the wall. If this is indeed a crime than just who is the victim? Who’s life is worse off for these murals donning our streets? In renaissance times, artists were praised for their accolades. Today they are treated as criminals.
This dude vehemently does not abide!
This dude obeys his soul. Hey, Shep! Stay strong. Those that don’t know your work certainly will now. And if this was a publicity stunt…You may be the greatest artist of all times. Nothing but love and respect.
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