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MARTHA COOPER DOCUMENTS MIAMI MURAL PROGRESS

Renowned street art photographer Martha Cooper dropped by the Wynwood Walls to document my collaborative mural with Cleon Peterson and the crew during Miami Art Basel. It’s always an honor to be the focus of Martha’s lens. Here are some of her shots to check out. Thanks for caring! – Shepard

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UPDATE: DEBBIE HARRY ZEBRA SKIN // BLONDIE HOODIE AND BUNDLE!

Blondie is one of my all-time favorite bands. I’ve been a fan since I discovered them as a kid on pop radio. After I got into punk, I learned more about Blondie’s evolution from the CBGB’s scene alongside bands like The Ramones, Talking Heads, Television, and Suicide. I always appreciated Blondie’s stylistic diversity, tackling genres such as rock, girl group soul, disco, hip-hop, and reggae. Blondie’s front woman Debbie Harry is an amazing vocalist, lyricist, style icon, beauty, and embodiment of NYC cool. I’ve admired Blondie and Debbie enough from a distance to make a few portraits of her over the years, but this is my first portrait of her since I’ve been friends with her and her Blondie co-founder, songwriter, and guitarist Chris Stein. Chris happens to be a great photographer and took the picture of Debbie my illustration is based on. I worked on some writing and the design for Chris’s photo book: Chris Stein / Negative: Me, Blondie, and the Advent of Punk and Chris offered to allow me to work from any of his photos. I was excited to work from Chris’s picture of Debbie with the Zebra background because I love her expression and the pop art sensibility of the Zebra skin. I took inspiration from Warhol’s portrait of Debbie, one of my favorite pieces by a favorite artist, which was coincidentally captured in progress by Chris Stein. Debbie and Chris are incredibly down to earth and were willing to sign the print also. I feel very lucky to know Debbie and Chris and grateful that they wanted to do this collaboration. I recommend checking out this great documentary on Blondie if you want a great overview of their evolution.
-Shepard

UPDATE: Check out the official Blondie Store to get the Holiday Redux Bundle full of all the essential Blondie goods you could ask for from Santa! Plus a pair of drum sticks signed by Clem Burke. While you’re at it, pick up a new hoodie to keep you warm this winter and sport the Shepard Fairey designed Blondie logo. Check it out HERE!

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Artist talk tonight in Miami

Shepard will be joining legendary photojournalist Martha Cooper, painter/designer Tristan Eaton and notorious favela transmuter and artist Jeroen Koolhaas for an artist talk moderated by none other than artist Ron English. The event is being held tonight December 4, 2014 at: 219 NW St, Miami, Florida starting at 6pm and sure to be one to remember. Hope to see you there!

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Demand Justice now!

The police must be held accountable. Demand Justice now. Sign Petition HERE. After you’ve signed, reach out to others to do the same and, project your voice via social media: #BlackLivesMatter #EricGarner

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UPDATE FROM ART BASEL MIAMI 2014

Shepard and the crew have been in Miami this week battling rain and fighting for daylight, working on new murals and more. This year Shepard teamed up with longtime friend and co-worker Cleon Peterson for a powerful collaboration. Check out the progress from today! More details and pictures will be posting soon so stay tuned! Thanks as always for caring and if you’re in Miami, check these out.

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This Box Rocks

Brave New Films observes 10 years of exposing Fox News, Walmart, the Koch Brothers, the failures of the Military-Industrial Complex & more. Donate and celebrate 10 years of creating hard-hitting investigations that shine a light on issues that mainstream media often ignores. Purchase of this collection is even tax deductible. Click here to order and find out more.

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FERGUSON AND MICHAEL BROWN

The fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, by a white police officer in Ferguson Mo. is not only tragic, but is charged with tension because of the inconsistency of witness testimony and the history of real and perceived racial bias in the area. I’m not pleased with the Grand Jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson, I have seen no compelling evidence that he needed to kill Brown to save his own life. I am relieved that proceedings have been more transparent than usual, with the evidence presented to the Grand Jury being shared with the public. This is a complex case, and the result, like it or not, was achieved through the justice system. However, I think there is insidious bias within our society, and our justice system that would have yielded a very different result if the roles were reversed. Imagine if Michael Brown had shot an unarmed Darren Wilson in the middle of the street and claimed it was self-defense. I think Brown would be facing life in prison. In my experience (I’ve been beaten up by police on a few occasions with my only provocation being that I put up art without permission), the police are often as cavalier about rules and laws as the criminals they despise. Regardless of the details in question in Ferguson, abuse of authority by those meant to “serve and protect” is far too common. I know some really cool cops, but what about the ones who are abusive? Who polices the police? I understand why many people of color feel frustrated and vulnerable to police abuse. I disagree with rioting and looting, because authorities always use unrest to justify their oppressive tactics, but I understand how feelings of powerlessness and frustration manifest in some sort of destructive retaliation from those who feel wronged.
-Shepard

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INTERPOLATION / NEW INTERPOL MURAL AND WEBSITE LAUNCH!

I picked up Interpol’s first album “Turn on the Bright Lights” shortly after it was released, based purely on the mysterious, film noir meets Blue Note (but in red), image on the cover. The music lived up to the seductive promise of the cover and I soon decided I’d found my new favorite band. I stalked Interpol backstage at Coachella and offered to create art for them if they ever needed it… to my surprise, they knew my work already and decided to take me up on my offer and have me create some art for their follow up album “Antics” in 2004. Ten years have passed since that project and after hanging with the band after their Lollapalooza gig this summer, we discussed working together again, possibly with a public art component. When “El Pintor” came out I loved the music, cover art, and the anagram device (an anagram is a new word or set of words made from the letters of another word or set of words in a different order). EL PINTOR means “the painter” in Spanish but is an anagram of INTERPOL. When approaching our new collaboration, I liked the challenge of creating an anagram from a song title. Daniel Kessler suggested “Everything Is Wrong” as the song for me to interpret. I love that song, so my thinking was to find a middle ground between Interpol’s aesthetics, lyrics for the song, and my art style and concepts. The lyrics to “Everything Is Wrong” are open to interpretation, but whether the song is about hard living, relationship failures, wear and tear on the environment, or an empire mentality, regret for poor decisions seems to be the theme. I decided to explore the idea of being complicit in a personal relationship or a relationship with a system that one realizes is unhealthy. I did an art show recently called “Power & Glory” that was a celebration and critique of Americana with an emphasis on the symbols and meanings of power. I like to question our obsession with money and the bravado that “America is the greatest country in the earth’s history”. Basically, I’m looking for an excuse to implicitly question hegemony, and “Everything Is Wrong” gave me one. My anagrams from EVERYTHING IS WRONG: THE VERY GROWING SIN and EVERY WRONG INSIGHT reflect both Interpol’s lyrics and my Power & Glory concepts. Since my mural images are interpretations of the song through my sensibility, but within parameters, they qualify as “interpolations”. It is convenient that interpolation references Interpol, but meaningfully, I think that art and music that inspire dialogue and interpretation are powerful fuel for expression and empowerment. I hope that the layers of this collaboration might make some molecules collide somehow.
-Shepard

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Glen E. Friedman in London this friday!

If you’re in London this Friday be sure to check out Glen E. Friedman’s photography exhibition showcasing works featured in his book “My Rules”, which saw it’s U.S. release earlier this year. I was honored to contribute the forward to this book having known Glen for many years and after numerous collaborations, I am really excited for this show. Don’t miss it! – Shepard

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Shepard on Creativity, activism, and rebellion

Shepard speaks on creativity, activism and rebellion in this new video interview from Fusion. Check it out!

“What I think is great about what’s happening now in global activism is that people can connect much more easily through social media. Now I think people that are motivated can make things happen as quickly as a corporation can.” – Shepard

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE!

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