Sunday, April 19, 2009



I hate you Shepard Fairey

Look at that smug mother fucker. Your Obey shit has become old and busted. Please stop. Stop now. What's next? You take your shit to the consumer world for Sak Fifth Ave?

If these were for irony, I would sort of chuckle.

its all appropriation and no irony. and its ugly.

But that's not the worse of it. It seems that he loves to make a living off just altering someone else's image/idea and make it a corporate tool. Destroying much of the impact. Well, at the very least it gets people to know the original, right? Wrong. It usually bastardizes the original to the point that the new generation doesn't care about it.

It's like a shitty remake of a film. Some would say that it at least draws attention to the piece. Not so much as it takes away a lot from the piece and just gives it new meaning and rides its coat tails. Take a look at some of these following pieces.

Left: Down with the Whiteness - Rupert Garcia. Silkscreen print. 1969. In the permanent collection of the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco. Right: Shepard Fairey’s rip-off version of Garcia’s silkscreen. Fairey published his plagiarized version in his book, Supply and Demand. No credit was given to Rupert Garcia.

Left: Black Panther - Pirkle Jones. Photograph. 1968. Portrait of an anonymous Panther at a political rally in Oakland, California. The Panther photos of Ruth-Marion Baruch and Pirkle Jones are internationally famous and have long been available in book form. Right: Fairey’s street poster, which neither credits Pirkle Jones nor makes any mention of the Black Panther Party.

Left: Liberate Puerto Rico Now! - Young Lords Party. Silkscreen poster. 1971. Right: Fairey’s rip-off, "Wage Peace: Obey", which neither credits nor makes any mention of the Young Lords Party.

Left: Fairey's derivative poster, Greetings from Iraq, printed in 2005. Right: Ranger Naturalist Service: Yellowstone National Park - Artist unknown. Silkscreen. Circa late 1930s. Created for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in order to promote travel to America's national parks

Left: Libertad para Angela Davis (Freedom for Angela Davis) - Félix Beltrán, Cuba, 1971. Original silk-screen print created by Beltrán in solidarity with Angela Davis when she was a political prisoner in the US. Right: Fairey’s plundered version as a street poster, which neither credits Beltrán nor identifies Angela Davis.

Left: Still from director Michael Anderson’s 1956 film adaptation of George Orwell’s cautionary story of a dystopic future, 1984. Right: Fairey unmistakably stole his image from the "Big Brother is Watching You" propaganda posters used in Anderson’s film, without crediting the source.

Left: Meeting - Vladimir Kozlinsky. Linocut. 1919. Kozlinsky’s depiction of workers listening to a revolutionary agitator. Middle top: Fairey’s plagiarized version of Kozlinsky’s linocut. Right: Have You Volunteered? - Dmitry Moor. Famous recruitment poster for the Soviet Red Army. 1920. Middle bottom: Fairey’s plagiarized version of Moor’s Red Army poster.

Left: Political power comes from the barrel of a gun - Artist unknown. 1968. Chinese poster from the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution period. The title of this poster quotes the famous pronouncement made by Mao Tse-Tung. Right: Fairey's plagiarized version titled, Guns and Roses. The Chinese poster's central motif of hands bearing machine guns was plainly digitally scanned without any alteration. Fairey, or his assistants, then applied a modified sun-burst background, placed clip-art roses in the gun barrels, and released the imitation in 2006 as a supposed original work.

Left: Fairey’s plagiarized poster. Right: Original street poster from Czechoslovakia’s, Prague Spring - Artist unknown 1968. The poster depicts a Soviet Red Army soldier in 1945 as a liberator, then as an oppressor in 1968.

Way to go Shepard. Lead those lambs to the slaughter.

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