Posted in music | video on February 9, 2009

Obey

BOSTON -- A street artist famous for his red, white and blue "Hope" posters of President Obama has been arrested on warrants accusing him of tagging property with graffiti, police said Saturday.

Shepard Fairey was arrested Friday night on his way to the Institute of Contemporary Art for a kickoff event for his first solo exhibition, called "Supply and Demand."

Two warrants were issued for Fairey on Jan. 24 after police determined he'd tagged property in two locations with graffiti based on the Andre the Giant street art campaign from his early career, Officer James Kenneally said. One of the locations was the railroad trestle by the landmark Boston University bridge over the Charles River, police said.

Fairey, 38, of Los Angeles, is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Brighton District Court, said Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk District Attorney. Wark said Fairey would also be arraigned on a default warrant related to a separate graffiti case in the Roxbury section of Boston. [Huffington Post]

This comes less than a week after the Associated Press sent their lawyers after Shepard for Obama-image copyright infringement.

This not the first time Shepard has been arrested - not even close. That's one of many subjects he talks about in his interview with Henry Rollins that you can watch in the videos below...

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Comments (36)

Yet another reason to stay out of Beantown.

Posted by Boston Sux A Bag of Dix | February 9, 2009 10:08 AM

next thing you know they'll be arresting you for writing funny comments on subway posters.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 10:11 AM

OBEY...the law

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 10:17 AM

Publicity stunt?! Tryin' to keep his rep in tact.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 10:17 AM

It's cool everyone, Obama is going take his lunch break to go personally release him

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 10:19 AM

fine with us.

Posted by bawston barnie | February 9, 2009 10:22 AM

To the gulag with him, comrades!

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 10:27 AM

They should arrest him for stealing:
http://www.art-for-a-change.com/Obey/index.htm

Posted by Kurt C. | February 9, 2009 10:31 AM

you should be arrested for being a douche 10:31

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 10:41 AM

10:31, I think you've missed the boat, that's exactly what his art is about. He uses classic images, typically associated with propaganda, and juxtaposes it with current themes or events.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 10:46 AM

Really? Is it being to a douche to think that Shepard Fairey doesn't have an original bone in his body? All he does is take art that other people created, slap Obey (which he took from the movie "They Live") on it, and make money off of it?

He makes money off of other peoples artwork.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 10:47 AM

"He makes money off of other peoples artwork. "

He makes money off modified versions of other people
s artwork. There's a difference. Cat Power plays cover songs. Should she be arrested?

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 10:52 AM

"Cat Power plays cover songs. Should she be arrested? "

Nah, she should be banned to Antartica.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 10:55 AM

I'm pretty sure Cat Power pays royalties to the publishers for songs she covers. Does Fairey do the same?

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 10:58 AM

"Does Fairey do the same?"

He probably should.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 11:11 AM

Shep's art is based on commercialism and crass consumerism....the "stealing" and mass production is the whole obvious F'ing point!

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 11:21 AM

Modified? What by slapping the word Obey on it?

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 11:23 AM

"I'm pretty sure Cat Power pays royalties to the publishers for songs she covers. Does Fairey do the same?"

that's exactly it - there is no attribution done by Fairey, even when the images are direct lifts slapped on a t-shirt. there is a difference between re-contextualizing and flat out stealing, and Fairey tends to fall on the latter side of those two (see his occasional public apologies when he gets called out).

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 11:33 AM

Fairey also takes obscure artwork that the average person isn't going to recognize. This differs from someone like Banksy, who (aside from doing completely original work) might alter a famous piece of artwork in a clever way. he doens't just flat out copy someone else's work.

Urban Outfitters sells Obey, and they are notorious for stealing from artists.


Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 11:59 AM

wtf I thought this arguement was kind of old, I mean ever hear of Marcel Duchamp or Andy Warhol? this is art, he can do whatever he wants.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 12:08 PM

ha ha!

hope 0
authority 1

even obama can't help the "arts" out on this one-

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 12:27 PM

Beaten by the police in NYC...don't point the finger at Boston cunts...the dude has been arrested 13 times.

Posted by ummmmmm.... | February 9, 2009 12:35 PM

The Difference between Warhol and Fairey is that when you look at a Warhol, you can say 'That is Marilyn Monroe" or "That is a Campbell's soup can". And warhol actually painstakingly painted the Campbell's Soup cans. They were obvious POP culture references. No one thought that Warhol was trying to pass the design of a campbell's soup can as his own creation.

When Duchamps "modified" work, he wasn't trying to sneak his work off as original. He modified the Mona Lisa because it's the friggin Mona Lisa. Everybody knows what it is, and no one is going to think that it is his original work.
When you look at Shepard Fairey's stuff, he is not doing it to make an obvious pop culture reference. he is doing it, becuase he is trying to get away with stealing.

You don't look at Shepard Fairey's work and say "Oh that's the cover art for Ver Sacrum from 1899". You need to be an art scholar to find the work he has stolen from.

You can't compare Warhol and Duchamps to Fairey. The execution and the intent are two totally different things.

Posted by Kurt | February 9, 2009 12:48 PM

oh yes you can you sound like you know a bit about art, Warhol took publicity stills and reworked them for his art, explain then the Elvis paintings? How about when he took AP photos from Life Magazine and Daily News for his suicides and car crashes series? He was taking a photo blowing it up and adding color, and he wasnt saying I took it from this or that issue of Life, only later art historians dug that stuff up to find what his source material. So Fairey is doing exactly the same thing Warhol was doing.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 12:57 PM

@12:57

"So Fairey is doing exactly the same thing Warhol was doing."

Yep.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 1:38 PM

you guys are a bunch of fcking idiots...what shep fairey has done for the street art community is pretty incredible. and it means a lot of things to a lot of people.

pls stick to bitching about mediocre music, and leave what you dont know...alone.

and for the record - he donated those obama image/pieces...peeps that ripped his sht and sold it on the side of the street, they 'copied' something. as far as i know, up through the inauguration, he didnt make a dime on that image...what happened after that, im not really sure. so if they wanna sue him for everything he's made on it...go ahead...it'll be 100% of NOTHING.

and fck all of you...street art, and his point is to go out there and stick his neck out there (13 arrests sounds about right) to fcking challenge all the bullshit mass media/advertising that are jamming bigmacs and anorexic girls down our throats. illegal? so what? what the fck do you do? go blow lines or puff 'illegal' drugs at a crystal castles or lykke li...big deal.

id rather go out there and challenge what is inadequate, vs shrinking my balls and wasting my life...

look at you - ur applauding the cops for hanging outside of the ICA in Boston waiting to throw him in jail on a couple outstanding warrants from january? that's weak...especially after all of the attention the city of boston (and the ICA) received for hosting fairey in the first place. at least give him a chance to revel in the opening of a 7 MONTH exhibition.

have you seen his work? his fine art work? the detail in some of his collages are unreal. and his message is relevant, and has remained such for 20 years.

12:57pm and a coup others are right...the rest of you really dont know what the fck ur talking about.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 1:46 PM

Bottom line...those artists created, did what they wanted and were able to get rich fulfilling their passion.

You sit here everyday complaining, criticizing, and acting holier-than-thou while at a miserable job, where your only "creative" outlet is throwing anonymous stones on a message board.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 1:51 PM

Fairey also takes obscure artwork that the average person isn't going to recognize. This differs from someone like Banksy, who (aside from doing completely original work) might alter a famous piece of artwork in a clever way. he doens't just flat out copy someone else's work.

Urban Outfitters sells Obey, and they are notorious for stealing from artists.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 11:59 AM

---------

There's a few contemporary musicians who have always done this (ok, one that i know of). But no one knows sssssssshhh!! You'd have to be into "world music" to recognize the jackassery.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 2:13 PM

"Yet another reason to stay out of Beantown."

Must be a jealous Yankee fan.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 3:43 PM

that kid is such a poseur, it's really too bad he was arrested 'cause people who know nothing about art or his shady dealings will only think this makes him cool.

douchebag.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 6:49 PM

"Reference" his work, change OBEY to OBLIGE, and see if you don't get slapped with a Cease & Desist order. Just do it™

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 8:01 PM

look at all the white people

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 8:50 PM

8:50 is white.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 10:53 PM

1:46, pls lrn 2 tipe n spel n shit yo, k thx laterzzz

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 10:56 PM

@6:49 – Shepard Fairey is not a kid. He's 38. His work has been put up by him and others via sticker, stencil and wheat paste tens of thousands of times at this point and he has only been arrested 15 times over 20 years. I doubt this was a publicity stunt to earn him some credibility.

I haven't always liked his work, but he deserves some respect. He's genuinely passionate about making stuff when it's so much easier to do nothing.


Posted by Anonymous | February 11, 2009 2:17 AM

I just heard his interview on Fresh Air w Terry Gross today and the guy is a total doucher. He's not an artist. His reasoning is just like a frat boy except he's like 40 years old. He has no idea what he's talking about. He actually said he is like Robin Hood. God, what an arrogant bastard. And a total hypocrite. He designs for Saks Fifth Avenue for f's sake.

WTF is wrong with you who support him, are you posers too, or what? Sit there in your Bob Marley shirts with your Che posters and feel like your subversive because you 'get it'. There's nothing to it. That's what he's selling. Total BS capitalism that he pretends to rail against.

Posted by Anonymous | February 26, 2009 10:40 PM

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