My friend and graphic art hero John Van Hamersveld is doing a book signing for his 50 year career retrospective book at Arcana on Sat. from 4-6 PM. John has created many iconic images over the years and his work has been a tremendous inspiration for me. I wrote the foreword to the book as well. Check it out and meet John who has many amazing works and stories.
I am concerned about the state of free speech and human rights in Turkey right now. My friend, Jeremy Kaplan, alerted me to the severity of the situation, which he has been following closely because his girlfriend is in Turkey at the moment. Turkey has been one of the more progressive countries in the Middle East for years, but seems to be moving in a more oppressive direction recently. A few years ago I made an image of Ataturk at the request of a Turkish friend. Ataturk was a champion of Turkish Democracy and secular government. I am offering a free download of my Ataturk image as a symbol of democracy and free speech. Please feel free to share that or the JPEG of Ataturk. Please read what my friend Jeremy has to say about the situation in Turkey and check out the links for more info. Thanks for caring.-Shepard Fairey
The overall issue is that the current Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government have come too far towards authoritarianism, dictatorship and fascism, and farther away from Ataturk’s founding and modern society’s democratic and secular principles. Including plans to demolish Ataturk Cultural Centre. It is not a political or religious movement, it is a human rights movement representing all corners of their society. After days of being attacked by the police, including gassing tens of thousands of peaceful protesters about a few hours ago, they have stayed largely non violent (a small population people throwing bricks, and returning gas canisters, lighting fires etc) , and have cleaned up the damages. They are intending on remaining peaceful and are asking people around the world to share their story in the face of a prime minister that has called social media and twitter ” a menace to all society”.
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Like I mentioned in a previous post, I was asked to do the poster art for Metallica’s Orion Festival again this year. I hinted that there might be a molotov cocktail of rock iconography… BAM… there is, literally a molotov cocktail of 200 proof sonic elixir! I’ll be releasing a limited edition of 350 signed and numbered prints on Thursday the 6th. There will also be an unsigned litho version on thick paper available at the festival. The festival is June 8th and 9th and I think there are still some tickets available. Pick up a poster on site, or order it online . Keep rockin’ in the semi-free world. -Shepard
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The goal of the Universal Personhood poster is to promote peace, equality, and humanity. The title “Universal Personhood” is inspired by the fact that many Arab countries have traditionally discriminated against women, but have progressed to acknowledge women as having “equal personhood”. Most Arab countries now allow women to vote, a right not secured by women in the U.S. until 1920. Discrimination against women is not isolated to the Arab nations and the whole world could use a reminder that women have equal personhood. However, I titled the poster Universal Personhood to add another layer to the message. The western world has an irrational fear of Arabs, especially Muslims and when Arab civilians are killed their lives don’t seem to be given the same value as westerner’s lives. This attitude enables systematic discrimination. I find the notion appalling that all Arabs and Muslims are treated as inferiors and enemies because a minuscule number of Muslim extremists have committed acts of terror. By that same logic, Arabs should consider all American’s enemies because of the Arab civilian casualties in wars and drone strikes. As we all know, the extreme acts of the U.S. government do not reflect the desires or ethics of all Americans. I’d like to see a very basic assumption that ALL people deserve respect and human dignity. Let’s look at everyone as having the basic status of “Universal Personhood” and let them only be judged by their individual actions rather than generalized prejudice.
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The crew and I recently headed to Vienna to paint a large mural as part of a large street art show put on by the Ernst Hilger Gallery. Vienna is beautiful, with an abundance of incredible architecture and tons of museums. It seems like a place that really values creative culture. The mural location was an amazing grain building on a major road into Vienna. We asked the gallery to paint the wall red ahead of time to save time and we hoped the weather would hold up because we only had 4 days to complete the mural. Everything seemed great when we showed up to the properly painted wall with lifts waiting for us that we needed to get 70 feet up. However, after we started painting with stencils we realized that the wall proportions seemed off! Sure enough, after measuring, we realized that the wall dimensions were 25% smaller than the measurements we had been given. I quickly assessed the challenge and altered the composition of the mural to adapt to the new wall size. Stenciled on the wall of my studio is the directive:”measure twice… cut once”. Those are words to live by. The gallery staff were very apologetic, and I tried to relieve their stress by explaining that I was used to working in less than ideal conditions. In the end the mural turned out well. I’m looking forward to spending more time in Vienna in the future. Thanks to Ernst Hilger, Katrin, Anke, Niko, and the rest of his staff, as well as my crew of Dan Flores, Nic Bowers, and Z Bomit for helping to bring the project to completion.
Cash, Cans, Candy
Hilger BROT Kunsthalle and GALERIE HILGER NEXT
On Exhibition from May 31st – September 14th
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My friend D’Face is having a solo show at Stolenspace in London, the same gallery where I did my “Sound & Vision” show last October and his own gallery. I’m sure the show will be awesome because D’Face has talent, ideas, and a serious work ethic. Check it out if you are in London.
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Whether cloaked by night or hidden in disguise, street artists don’t often work in the public eye. A stunning short film by Sage Seb presents a rare, aestheticized view of one of the most influential street artists today, Shepard Fairey.
Jeremy Hammond is being prosecuted for leaking documents related to corporate spying. He was motivated not by personal gain, but by his conscience to be a whistleblower. The war on whistleblowers is unacceptable. Corporate spying should not be shielded by our govt. We need corporate transparency. Please support Jeremy by petitioning for him to get a lenient sentence. Also check out Brave New Films’ film on “The War On Whistleblowers”. Click “more” below for the full story!
Thanks for caring.
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My long time friend Stuart Noble was struck by a car and killed while crossing the street in Pasadena Friday night. I will miss him tremendously. I met Stuart in 1999 on my first trip to London. Stuart was a partner in a flyer distribution and promotions company called Don’t Panic! Don’t Panic curated an art poster supplement that was distributed with the flyers. I think their goal was to mix art and commerce. I was offered the Don’t Panic art poster as a means of promoting my London art show, but I had to drive straight from the airport to their offices and work on the art in order to meet their print deadline. Stuart and the rest of the Don’t Panic! crew were very enthusiastic about the design I made. Stuart then offered for me to tag along to put up posters as he drove the Don’t Panic! delivery van around London dropping off flyers. Stuart was on the job, so I wanted to respect his time, but I kept seeing good spots, so I would ask him if we had a second to pull over. The answer was always “yes!” and as he started to understand my modus operandi he would drive out of his way to take me to great spots. Stuart and I bonded intensely while driving all over London. Thanks to Stuart, I poster bombed from Brixton to Camden. Stuart also promoted my art show to his friends and brought a ton of people to the opening. My first London trip was a big success, largely because of Stuart’s support.