About This Work:
“Most of my heroes don’t appear on stamps or in art galleries. No matter how much I love art, or try to convince myself of its relevance in society the fact remains that music is a lot cooler and way more able to reach people’s hearts and minds” – Shepard Fairey
Music has always had a huge influence on pop culture. Every generation had a defining genre of music. Music, like art speaks volumes about the times in which we live in. Just as art, music is constantly changing. Shepard Fairey’s brand of art is Street Art. Real street art touches upon the pulse of the everyday person, whose perception of what art is about is not in a museum, but rather on the street. Music touches the everyday person, much like the street art of Shepard Fairey and his contemporaries.
Society emulates musicians, society hums their music, society sings their lyrics. Fairey’s art is an extension of what music does to society. His work talks about the social, environmental, political, and every day issues that concern the everyday person.
His work became more widely known in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, specifically his Barack Obama “Hope” poster. The New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl called the poster “the most efficacious American political illustration since ‘Uncle Sam Wants You‘”.
This week’s Work Of the Week (WOW) is a very rare silkscreen on canvas of one of Shepard Fairey’s favorite Punk Rock icons, Joey Ramone. The Ramone Canvas as it has come to be known, was done in 2002. There are only 2 of these pieces ever made, plus 1 AP (artist’s proof) and 1 PP (printer’s proof).
Needless to say, this work is extremely rare.
In 2002 – 2003 Fairey produced a Punk Pioneers suite. The first piece of this series was Joey Ramone, lead singer of the Ramones. Despite others that had come before him setting the stage for the punk rock genre, such as Iggy Pop or the Stooges, the Ramones, according to Fairey “really set the wheels in motion” in the realm of punk music.
The other icons in Punk Pioneers suite are Johnny Rotten, Joe Strummer, Glenn Danzig, Henry Rollins, and Ian MacKaye. However, the only work on canvas was of Joey Ramone. All the other icons were silkscreen on paper and in an edition of 300.
The whereabouts of the 2 editioned Ramone Canvas are unknown. The printer’s proof has been found, and archived, but has a tear to the canvas. Thus, leaving the Artist’s Proof left, which belongs to Gregg Shienbaum Fine Art, the only known work in mint condition.
About This Work:
Tomorrow, finally, will be Election Day.
Both candidates have very high unfavorable poll numbers.
Both candidate are flawed.
Questions about politicians and just how ethical they are, and how ethical the whole system is, have been raised. Charges of unlawful and unjust “dealings” have been tossed around for the whole world to see just how much of a mockery this election is.
Due to tomorrow’s elections, we feel that this particular artwork is very fitting and we found its message very appropriate for this occasion.
This weeks work of the week is called Power Bidder, by Shepard Fairey
At the bottom of the work it reads “Democracy sold to the highest bidder”.
With all the craziness, and nonsense that has surrounded this election cycle, it seem that truer have never been spoken!
Frank Shepard Fairey (born February 15, 1970) is an American contemporary graphic designer and illustrator who emerged from the skateboarding scene. He first became known for his “Andre the Giant Has a Posse”
Fairey created the “André the Giant Has a Posse” sticker campaign in 1989, while attending the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). This later evolved into the “Obey Giant” campaign. As with most street artists, the Obey Giant was intended to inspire curiosity and cause the masses to question their relationship with their surroundings.
His work became more widely known in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, specifically his Barack Obama “Hope” poster. The New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl called the poster “the most efficacious American political illustration since ‘Uncle Sam Wants You'”.
The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston calls him one of today’s best known and most influential street artists.
His work is included in the collections at The Smithsonian, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, the Virginia Museum of Fine Art in Richmond, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
In 2011 Time Magazine commissioned Fairey to design its cover to honor “The Protester” as Person of the Year in the wake of the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street and other social movements around the world. This was Fairey’s second Person of the Year cover for Time, his first being of Barack Obama in 2008.
Shepard Fairey aka OBEY
OBEY ’04 (Wage Peace)
42 x 30 in.
Edition of 89
Pencil signed and numbered
ABOUT THIS WORK:
Shepard Fairey’s background is rooted in American skate and punk rock culture, with his work born out of a combination of a graffiti aesthetic and Pop art sensibilities. Straddling the divide between the fine art world and the street art world, Fairey—despite his massive popularity—has had to wait to be accepted by the more traditional art world. His higher profile has also, in turn, gotten him into some serious problems with law enforcement (he recently faced felony charges in Detroit, despite eighteen prior arrests for illegal tagging). Fairey said of this conflict: “To some people street art is vandalism, to others it’s gentrification, and either of those could be considered more legit than the other depending on your perspective“.
His artwork stands out in both the street and in a gallery setting. Although he is still viewed primarily as a street artist despite his indisputable commercial success. Fairey’s use of powerful, accessible images and messages display an influence from early advertising, alternative culture, and Pop artists like Andy Warhol. This combination of clear messaging and graphic compositions gives his work a broad appeal that speaks to a wide cross section of society. “Street art has to stand out from the static, and contend with the metabolism of the city“. He evokes communist propaganda, Barbara Kruger style advertorials and Jasper Johns subversion.
Fairey’s work also has a strong political component. He was already well known for his OBEY Andre the Giant tags and stickers before he created the image Obama Hope in 2008, a block-colored portrait of the presidential hopeful Barack Obama. The image, now world-famous, was subsequently adopted as the official presidential campaign image and became probably his most famous image. In addition, he also created a poster in support of Ai Weiwei’s—now successful—campaign to regain his passport in 2014.
Early in his career, during the OBEY sticker campaign that made him famous, Fairey seriously questioned the nature of his imagery, firmly establishing himself as an outspoken counter-culture figure, often addressing issues of war, human rights, ecology, and politics.
His art can be explained as an experiment in Phenomenology. Heidegger describes Phenomenology as “the process of letting things manifest themselves.” Phenomenology attempts to enable people to see clearly something that is right before their eyes but obscured; things that are so taken for granted that they are muted by abstract observation. Because people are not used to seeing advertisements or propaganda for which the product or motive is not obvious, frequent and novel encounters with this art provoke thought and possible frustration, nevertheless revitalizing the viewer’s perception and attention to detail.
A perfect example of this is the work entitled Obey ’04, from the Retro Series. The silhouette of the soldier is a strong graphic form against the red background. Here we can see all the typical elements that characterize Fairey’s art: red, beige and black colors, modern and current subjects and the predominant presence of the graphic element.
Also present is the image Fairey became known for, the Andre The Giant face. This is represented by the soldier holding up this iconic image. We also see it in that sort of mandala shaped like a star in the upper right, a true symbol of the artist.
Fairey, who is definitely a pacifist, creates work that speak of peace and war, conveying his concern with politics.Here we can see the words “wage peace” instead of the typical “wage war”, and a flower inside the rifle instead of bullets.
The Obey ’04 from the Retro Series was created to commemorate the 20 year anniversary of the artwork of OBEY. The series was first released for the opening of Shepard’s 20 years Retrospective at the ICA Boston.