While we were in Paris, I received the go-ahead on a huge wall in London that was proposed for a mural at the London Pleasure Gardens. The project was organized by Garfield Hackett of Mutate Britain and a bunch of the folks who work on the Glastonbury festival, so it was in great hands creatively, but since the Pleasure Gardens are adjacent to the Olympic site, the Mayor had to approve the mural imagery. I initially submitted a Rolls Royce on fire, which was rejected, and made it through the red tape with my second try of the Free Speech Megaphone. The wall is 120 feet high and the art itself is over 80. This mural is the highest one I have done and this location provided many challenges, some expected, some no so. First, customs held our materials for a couple days. Then, the surface of the building was very rough… which I found charming aesthetically, but difficult technically. We had to scrape old flaky paint off for an entire day before we started. Next, it was windy and rainy. One day the winds were so strong that a gust blew a billboard over onto a guy breaking his back and ribs. You don’t want to be on a lift 100 feet up trying to spray stencils in those conditions. After several stop and start days I was wondering if we’d be able to complete the mission. Finally the weather improved and we powered through several long days. We have worked under Spartan conditions before, but I have to give credit to my team of Nic Bowers, Dan Flores, and Z James for their hard work and tenacity under difficult conditions. In the end I’m very happy with the mural which can be seen from quite far away and will be the backdrop for a lot of cool stuff at the Pleasure Gardens. I should also mention that the building is where some scenes from one of my favorite movies, Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket” were shot. Check out this video about the mural with cameo by Norman Cook A.K.A. Fatboy Slim who dropped by to say hi. What a cool guy.
I’ve been a big fan of the Rolling Stones since my dad introduced me to “Satisfaction.” “Tattoo You” is one of the earliest albums I bought with my own money and I studied the album package obsessively… you may notice how its color scheme and iconic art could have inspired me? The Rolling Stones have had a lot of great art over the decades, but nothing can top their tongue logo, originally created by John Pashe in 1971. In my opinion, the Stones’ tongue logo is the most iconic, potent, and enduring logo in rock ‘n’ roll history. I think the logo not only captures Mick Jagger’s signature lips and tongue, but also the essence of rebellion and sexuality that is the allure of all rock ‘n’ roll at its finest.
I first worked with Mick Jagger and Dave Stewart on their project Superheavy. Mick and Dave were great to work with and I became at ease with our creative rapport despite their stature as musicians. However, when Mick Jagger reached out to me about designing a logo to mark the Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary I was quite overwhelmed. Mick said he was open to any of my ideas . One of the first things I asked Mick was “don’t you think the tongue HAS to be included?”. He responded “yeah I guess it ought to be”. Case closed. I was very humbled and honored to be asked to work on the 50th logo so my objective was to service and showcase the Stones’ legacy rather than try to make my contribution dominant.
I worked on this project as a fan knowing that the Stones’ tongue was the focus and the starting point. With that in mind I set out to integrate the 50 in a creative and memorable way. I think the solution speaks for itself in celebrating the Stones’ trademark icon and historical anniversary. I’d like to thank the Rolling Stones for all their great music that has impacted my life and for allowing me to make a small contribution to their 50th anniversary. Cheers!
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Some of you may remember my SSI poster collab with my friend John Goff. If so, this story may seem redundant, but note that the word “poster” has been replaced with the word “disc” because we worked on an SSI vinyl picture disc. It turned out very nicely as art and music. John is also publishing and releasing great screen prints by artists like Brin Levinson and a Cleon Peterson print drops soon.
I met John Goff in 1997 while I was living in San Diego. He liked my work and offered to help me screen print. I was broke so I could not afford a drying rack for the prints. John would lay the prints out to dry on the floor He would never accept money, but only asked for posters(which were virtually worthless at the time) in return for his efforts. John was easy to work with because once he discovered we both liked the Melvins, he started bringing great records over. I got all the Kraftwerk albums from John and realized that he was really into electronic music. Now, years later, John’s love of electronic music collides with me owing him a favor. John has an electronic music project with his brother Will called SSI (Sonic Solutions Incorporated) and asked me to design an SSI picture disc. You can check out and buy the disc here. John is also an audio whiz and has been helping me re-edit some songs to DJ with. If you’ve heard any of my DJ sets some of my work with John was in the mix.
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Russell Brand is a friend and my studio and I recently worked on logo and set design for his new show called BRAND X. The thing I love about Russell is his fiercely intelligent ability to combine humor with social commentary in a way that is both entertaining and provocative. Russell has been meditating and pondering a higher path for humanity while also pondering the fit physiques of his female fellow yoga students. His show will stimulate above and below the belt. Don’t miss it. – Shepard
Show airs Thursday June 28 11:00 PM E/P on FX.
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I was interviewed by a thoughtful woman named Maria Fernanda Schweichler while I was in Paris. She seemed to recognize the difficulties of balancing my interests of street art, fine art, politics, and fashion. Check out her article and video interview. Several people in Paris asked me if my mural there was commissioned or paid for by Levi’s. The answer is neither… I paid for my own team and I was provided lifts by Mehdi who owns Galerie Itinerrance and is spearheading the public art project in District 13. I was not paid to do the mural but I’m not sure why that seems surprising to a lot of people considering my history in street art. I suspect that the scale of the piece and intensity of the work process is something a lot of people don’t consider until they see it firsthand or well documented. I enjoy the challenge of large pieces and the opportunity to share my work with a public audience.
While Shepard and the OG Crew were in Paris last week for the Levi’s collaboration, they found time to put up a new mural too! Check out the newest mural photos below (courtesy of Matthieu Soudet and Butterfly).
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Introducing for Fall 2012, OBEY Clothing Teamed up with the Keith Haring Foundation on a clothing collaboration. This is a short look at the project and concept behind it. Stay tuned for the full length version, coming soon.
I’m a few days late on this because I’ve been in Paris working on a few projects including a huge mural.. My friend David Degraw has posted a piece on the One Year Anniversary of the 99% Movement. Money out of politics is essential to a more functional democracy. Check it out and thanks for caring.
Incase for Shepard Fairey is a capsule collection of accessories for Apple device users featuring one of the world’s most preeminent street artists. As a cultural provocateur, social critic and artist, Fairey’s bold illustrations have created some of the most enduring cultural memes in modern times.
“The artworks that comprise my series for Incase all overtly or sublimely reflect the concept of Peace. Peace seems like a simple idea, but evidence of its fragility is far too visible. I believe peace, beauty, and harmony are not only related, but intertwined. Visual symbols of peace manifest similarly in many different cultures, transcending language and reminding us of the basic loves and needs we all have in common. Peace is a struggle, but whether the images are ornamental, hopeful, or cautionary, this series promotes harmony.”
– Shepard Fairey
Signed by Shepard and available in Collectibles starting Tuesday, June 19 at 10am (PST). $99.95
UPDATE !! Orders will not ship until the week of July 2, 2012.
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STAY HIGH was a significant pioneer of graffiti culture not only in his proliferation, but also in his use of the smoking saint charachter as a supplement to his tag. I met STAY HIGH a couple of times and he was very cool and funny. He will be missed but his influence will endure. ~Shepard
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