Shepard Fairey [ LOS ANGELES, CA, USA ]all artists
Shepard Fairey is renowned for his...
“Obey” campaign and for his Obama “Hope” poster. His mural for the Wynwood Walls, visible from 2nd Avenue, is a stunning example of his wheat-pasted work. When Shepard first heard about the project, one of the things that impressed him most was the idea that the outdoor pieces curated for the project would not only be very accessible to the public, but that they would also be maintained. From the years he spent putting artwork up in the streets illegally, Shepard was accustomed to the opposite, that street art pieces are usually short-lived.
Knowing that the walls would be protected provided an incentive for him to design and create a pasted mural that is more polished than what he would be able to do without permission. He prepared the poster backgrounds and painted figures specifically for the size of the wall, building on the images he was focusing on at the time, and using them in a modular way by combining newer motifs with older images. These include references to human rights with the figure on the far left of Burmese opposition politician Aung San Suu Kyi; the imagery also deals with climate change and the question of war.
While the idea of an outdoor art oasis with his favorite artists was appealing, Shepard was also attracted by its proximity to Art Basel and the excitement about art that the show and its satellite fairs create. Ultimately, he believes that good art in public should be something cities support: “Tony is really thinking about how art can benefit people’s city experience and how that can be sanctioned by the city rather than it having to be done in opposition to the city. I like that because I see art as a really important part of people’s quality of life.”
As an extension of the outdoor mural, Shepard designed the logo and indoor walls for the Wynwood Restaurant and Bar during the second year of the Wynwood Walls. Working with Tony and Jessica Goldman on the project, it was a great opportunity for him to demonstrate a symbiotic relationship between fine art and design.