July 13, 2009, - 4:39 pm

The Audacity of Vandalism . . . & Hope: Famous Obama Artist Gets Sentenced

By Debbie Schlussel
Remember those official Obama campaign posters that said “HOPE” on them and bore a red, periwinkle, cream, and navy Warhol-esque, pop art likeness of the then-Presidential candidate? How could you miss them? You couldn’t get away from the annoying, screaming posters bearing a nice euphemism for “FANTASY.” And many people around the net still use icons of themselves morphed into the famous posters.
The thing is the artist–Shepard Fairey (and no, I’m not making his name up)–who created the posters is something of a professional vandal. And Friday, this guy who helped Shepherd in the biggest Fairey-tale in America was sentenced for just one of his many crimes.


Shepard Fairey: Obama Poster Artist & Convicted Criminal

Shepard Fairey, above, whose “Hope” poster for Barack Obama became an emblem of the 2008 presidential election, was sentenced to two years’ probation on Friday in Boston Municipal Court for charges stemming from images he posted on public and private property over the years. . . . Mr. Fairey pleaded guilty to three charges of vandalism, including defacing property and wanton destruction of property under $250; 11 other charges were dropped. He was also fined $2,000 to pay for graffiti removal. Mr. Fairey was arrested in Boston in February as he arrived at the Institute of Contemporary Art for the opening-night party for a retrospective of his work. “Freedom of expression is the bedrock of our democracy,” Mr. Fairey said in a statement on Friday.

Yes, but freedom of HIS expression on OTHERS’ private property is not.

Shepard Fairey, the street artist who for decades has plastered his stickers and posters on buildings and street signs, issued an apology today and agreed to ban himself in Boston.
Fairey consented to a plea deal that will prohibit him from carrying stickers, posters, wheat paste, brushes, and other tools of the graffiti trade while in Suffolk County for the next two years.

It’s pretty embarrassing–and funny–when you aren’t allowed to carry glue or paint around town. Some people can’t live within 500 feet of a school. He can’t carry paint brushes. They molested kids. He molests property.

Under the arrangement, Fairey pleaded guilty to three vandalism charges and must pay a $2,000 fine to one of his adversaries, Graffiti NABBers for the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay.
In a statement, Fairey apologized to the citizens of Boston for “posting my art in unauthorized spaces without the consent of the owner.”
“I believe in the importance of making art accessible through many avenues, and I will continue to advocate the use of legal public spaces for meaningful artistic expression and communication.” . . .
He had originally been charged with two counts of tagging, but prosecutors amended the complaint to wanton destruction of property. A guilty plea to tagging would have forced Fairey to lose his driver’s license for a year in California.
The third charge of defacing a building dated to 2000.

Hmmm . . . sounds like he’s already planning to deface taxpayer-funded parks and highway overpasses.
Probation is not unusual for a single case of vandalism, but this guy is habitual and a multiple repeat offender. I wonder if the judge voted for Obama. Wouldn’t bet against it. Ditto for the prosecutors that offered him this easy deal even though he’s a repeat offender.
In any event, we now have a 4-8 year Fairey-tale brought to us courtesy of this vandal “artist” who helped Shepard it. How appropriate that this Shepard of Fairey-tales is a glorified repeat common criminal.
Kinda like the man he helped elect.
One guy vandalizes private property in parts of America. The guy in his posters just seizes private property all over America.
The Audacity of Dope. Two of ’em.

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11 Responses

I would say that Mr. Fairey succeeded in his most important effort. He helped tag the United States with Barack Obama.

Worry01 on July 13, 2009 at 5:33 pm

Fairey the Fraud is a thief who takes other people’s artwork, does a variation on it, and claims it’s his brilliant idea. Chairman Obama has also written a letter to him praising his vandalism. They are turds of a feather.

FreethinkerNY on July 13, 2009 at 6:56 pm

Hope and Change?
Thug and Thizzle is more like it.
How much money did this Andy Worhol rip-off get for his work?

SamAdams on July 13, 2009 at 7:29 pm

Regardless of the man, the Hope poster is a work of genius.

Norman Blitzer on July 13, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Just to be clear….we live in a Republic form of government. Not a democracy…..you Fairey!

NJBeachbum on July 13, 2009 at 8:55 pm

They still put up posters with wheat paste? What ever, I see a tag line for a new bad movie for Debbie to review:
{Voice of the late Don La Fontaine}”He was a white boy from Boston, a notorius postererer[sic]. But then he struck out to hit the big time in the City of The Angels, Los Angeles. Yes, this white boy from Boston would be moving up from slapping up posters with wheat paste to…spray paint.”
California Dreamin’ meets 9 Mile.
I’m in LA and some of the spray can artists are pretty talented. The just vandalize any vulnerable piece of concrete thay find. When a bunch of these guys get a building owners permission and plan and execute a mural, it can be impressive.

Richard on July 13, 2009 at 10:12 pm

That poster makes me think of Hitler (or Soviet) propoganda. Very scary (and what a dopey artist ;).

JSDude1 on July 14, 2009 at 1:17 am

Debbie, two points. The tagging laws was meant for gang-bangers in California who used tagging as a way to intimidate communities and other gangs. Other states emulated the law. People doing guerrilla marketing was not the main focus. However, you are right he had to pay the consequences for his actions. Point taken. Had gang related tagging not been so pervasive, this type of vandalism would be looked the other way in a sense. Still doesn’t leave him without responsibility.
Second point. Living in San Diego when Shepard Fairy started his underground guerrilla marketing of his posters it became common to stickers and posters of wrestler Andre the Giant. Mostly put there by skaters who slap tons of stickers all over road signs. The phrase would say “Andre the Giant has a posse”. He was later contacted by Andre the Giant’s estate for unlicensed use of his image and he later paid. His posters are cool although liberal. They are post industrial. The posters conjure up an industrial world with no feeling. Prior to the Obama campaign he was seen as an outsider away from endorsing a candidate but he is definitely liberal.
The ironic thing about his posters is the has a moniker of OBEY. Well it is play on government propaganda to control people by direct or subliminal messages to the people. Mostly attacking conservatives or authoritarian administrations. It is ironic because KING HUSSEIN COBRAMA has such a cult of personality following he gives this same level of identity toward his followers blind devotion. Those same posters of obey and control can also be placed on Obama. Now that conservatives are out of power it would be great to see an artist use the same demonization of liberal policies gone awry.

californiascreaming on July 14, 2009 at 1:43 am

Whiteboys doing graffiti…shows you the state of white “culture”–y’all ALWAYS twenty years back.
So you’re allegedly a lawyer, right Deb?
Now imagine if EVERY graffiti artist and vandal was to be put in jail…the prison population would balloon another five to six million.
And President Obama SEIZES PRIVATE PROPERTY…wtf???
Must have missed THAT on Fox “news”…but EMINENT DOMAIN has long been an Amerikkklan tradition.

EminemsRevenge on July 14, 2009 at 7:41 am

Hope poster a work of genius?
Rip off of Andy Worhol?
But since the subject is Big ears it’s ok.

SamAdams on July 14, 2009 at 1:00 pm

It’s obvious from the tone of your comments that you are a card carrying conservative republican. If you are a lawyer, I’m not surprised, but you should then be held accountable for your comments or should I say “untruths”.

You may not like what Mr. Fairey did, but you put our President Obama in a category calling him a repeat criminal offender. What are you talking about? How about Facts, ma’am, just the Facts….As Sarah Palin said, how about “No more lies!” But, that’s not in the realm of being a conservative republican, is it?

It’s comments like this, and you know it, that get blown out of proportion and start rumors and gossip. Guess what, Debbie? People with a brain have caught onto the “Karl Rove” tactics and just don’t buy it any longer. You end up looking foolish….and so are all the supporters writing you.

You will not derail this thoughtful, intelligent president we are so lucky to have, just to see him fail….I guess you listen to Rush Limbaugh as well…..

Proud to be a Liberal…..We’re Baaaaaaaaaaaaaccccccckkkkkkkk!

Marion "the Liberal" and proud of it! on August 22, 2009 at 12:05 pm

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