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January 07, 2009


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Chris Raymond

Apparently, Fairey is a major plagiarizer of the work of other artists. See this article, which clearly documents instance after instance of such rip-off work:

While I understand the social/cultural significance of the Obama poster, it is sad to end up giving this "artist" national credibility like this given his history.

National Portrait Gallery

Visual appropriation, a technique for adapting borrowed imagery which Shepard Fairey admits to using, has many artistic precedents. Religious and political graphics have especially relied over the centuries on this sort of repetition. James Montgomery Flagg’s famous “I want you for the U. S. Army,” recruiting poster, for example, was “borrowed” without credit from British artist Alfred Leete’s image of a pointing-finger Lord Kitchener. Many people have recognized the propagandistic visual lexicon to which many of Fairey’s works refer. In appropriating images from historical material in which the party in power was imposing its political will, Fairey strips them of their threatening associations and changes their meaning by introducing his own Andre-the-Giant logo, or his trademark, tongue-in-cheek phrase, “OBEY.” Appropriation became a common tool of fine art in the 1960s in the hands of Andy Warhol and various pop artists. And perhaps more relevant to today’s culture, this is how sampling operates in urban/hip hop music.

For additional commentary, see this article by Philip Kennicott, of the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/12/AR2009011203422.html



Susan Rice

I agree that that Fairey is basically a rip-off "artist" and that his type of "art" is really about marketing. By plastering the world with banal stickers (Andre the Giant), he made a name for himself in exactly the same way as Coke, Pepsi, Nike and other mass-marketers do it. To call it "guerrilla" or "outsider" art is ridiculous-- Fairey went to a fancy art school and is no outsider, and guerilla tactics are used by those who have a social or political struggle that pits them against much greater power. He and other phony guerilla "artists" have no such struggle or powerlessness. It is just that rich white boys with nothing to say but a desire for attention claim the outsider title because of the cultural cache. In fact he is part of the status quo. He just wants make a buck and feed his career through riding the waves of public sentiment. This is not respected in the arts community, and not respected by the true political and social activists. It is sad that those taken in by the rip-off artists and by the B.S. that is prevalent in the business of art include the staff at the NPG.


It's really too bad that those who are commenting against Fairey are too wrapped up in agendas to see he's transcended their petty little hatreds.

Wake up and smell the Warhol.

Robert oleson

to go against the above commenter about shepard being a plagarist:


Septic One

Shepard Fairey should be called out on stealing from minority artists and for twisting the message of other artists. I read articles that open my eyes to how horrible he is as a man. He does not allow artist to comment visually on his art but takes, takes, takes all he can from minority artists and photographers. If he thinks that fair use is creative freedom he should accept that artists will comment on his work visually and profit from it just as he does. NPR did not ask him about any of his contradictions and ICA did not either. He is a hypocrite and steals culture for his own profit and messages. He is a rightest selling a leftist message for his own fame and fortune. Support the ASL group in exposing this fraud. Please read and see what he does from the words of this man who has been critical of this artist,


And the Supertouch article bashing Mr. Vallen is bogus. They only bash Mr. Vallen becauses Vallen is a true revolutionary artist and mentor of the streets. They do it because Mr. Fairey makes them money.



Look up Dada & Pop-art This is art.

Sulumits Retsambew

I found this most popular Obama's picture on my country too. I hope his can change the world into more peace.

Sulumits Retsambew

We leave our hope on Mr.Obama


I love how stencil art can be simple and bold and yet still bring the character out in the piece. The colour contrasts make it a striking piece.

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