Shepard Fairey is a Fucking Punk

I am SO HAPPY to add my voice to the din of Shepard Fairey haters, since I have hated him from the word Obey. Obey yourself, motherfucker, I always think when I see his stupid Obey products, which now include every possible type of garment and accessory for idiots who like his ‘brand.’

Shepard Fairey designed the Obama poster that is now going to the Smithsonian, but he copied it from a photo taken by AP photographer Manny Garcia (see photo, above left.) The AP is suing Fairey for copyright infringement, and now Fairey is counter-suing the AP, claiming that their lawsuit takes a position that is “a suppression of an artist’s freedom of expression.”

All of Mr. Fairey’s work thus far is copied from something else, which some call plagiarism. Some disagree.   What is hard to argue with is the statement of James Danziger, whose gallery is selling limited prints of Garcia’s photo, signed by Mr. Garcia: “There’s an implication that defining yourself as an ‘artist’ as opposed to a ‘photographer’ makes you more important and gives you a special privilege. It also implies that a straightforward photograph is of lesser significance or value than a painting or conceptual work of art.”

For me, the moral of this story is, Don’t Obey Anyone, least of all punkass phonies who pretend to be guerrilla artists.

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23 Responses to Shepard Fairey is a Fucking Punk

  1. Bex says:

    He sold out a loooong time ago.

  2. JK says:

    Your reply awaits, m’Lady.

  3. skye says:

    Yeah, no one who expects me to “obey” is every going to get very far with me.

    It’s a tough call on the copyright/intellectual property thing – but we do expect rappers etc to pay for the music they sample now, so I think by that standard Mr Fairey needs to pony up the dollars, acknowledge his source gracefully and sort out some kind of deal here rather than counter-suing. What a spoilt brat!

  4. Yes he can get stuffed!
    Honestly next time I’m asked to pay my train fare I’m going to look hurt and say I’m an artist.

  5. JK says:

    m’Lady, I’m trying to extricate, as gracefylly as one can.

    Unsaid of course, without getting one’s ass kicked.

    Our friend, I’m afraid, is suffering palpitations.

    I’ll bother you here-no more.

  6. dewayne says:

    all this talk of the word “obey” reminds of this time many years ago that i was watching the news, and the normal news lady wasn’t there…her understudy was a woman named “willow bay,” who was very similar in appearance and demeanor.

    therefore, i decided she must be a robot. the name was a dead giveaway.

  7. honeypants says:

    Hmm… As an “artist” myself, I have opinions on this. First of all, I didn’t know who Fairey was before I read your blog. And googling turned up the Andrew the Giant/Obey thing on the third page. Okay, I’ve seen that. I guess I didn’t know how trendy it was.

    Now, there is photography as art (from Ansel Adams to Cindy Sherman) and there’s photography as media (and of course personal photography, which is irrelevant here). If instead, Fairey had a huge hit with something based on pap-shot photo of Brittney, would this even be an issue?

    I’ve looked at photos that weren’t mine and used them for starting points and even (less successfully realistic) “straight” copies. Or as much of a straight copy as this Obama thing is.

    I think the AP photog is just bitter and resentful. But honestly, I really don’t understand how this is copyright infringement.

    Skye, likening it to sampling is a different thing, because actual samples of original material are used without permission. This is just BASED on a photo, that wasn’t meant to be art in the first place.

    And then of course, this brings to mind Andy Warhol. It’s pop art. It’s a style that’s been popular for decades. And I just don’t see how this is any different, whether one likes the art in question or not.

  8. honeypants says:

    Whoops, Andre the Giant. The W is just sitting right there next to the E on the keyboard, and it happened. Sorry!

  9. I was also going to bring up Warhol, but honeypants, who I agree with, already has.

    Fairey’s poster or print is a work of art based on a photo. It falls short of being a literal copy of the photo. Firey’s work is very derivative, but I don’t thnk it constiutes copyright infringement.

  10. hammiesays says:

    when I was doing bad art at high school I went through a phase of photocopying the glossy pages that always fall out of the middle of a paperback biography- in this case The Beatles. And painting the distorted results. Me and ImeldaMike used to scam the library into giving us the geography key and running up their account on the school photocopier.
    My art teacher was impressed with the technique, and the fact we didnt use the Arts Key, but said for my final year exams I had to use my own photography as as basis for the distorted multi copies, anything else was plagarism and I would be disqualified = nil points.
    so I made ImeldaMike pose for me and got an A as a result.
    if its good enough for students, why not a proffesional artiste?
    xx

  11. this guy’s been commercial for a long time, and my first reaction is “artist my ass.” Successful graphic artist, sure.

  12. BubbaZ says:

    Let me take a bit of a different tack here… your use of the tag “motherfucker.” See, I happen to like that word. I don’t think it is used nearly enough, so I applaud your efforts to rectify that situation. I would like to hear Barbara Waters on the View use “motherfucker” to describe some of her guests. I think the use of “motherfucker” in the evening news would be a excellent example of using a vernacular to describe an otherwise indescribable situation. How else can one describe bush/cheney/rumsfeld/rove except to invoke “motherfucker?” See, I think you’re really on to something here.
    As for Shepard Fairey, sorry, don’t know him. But judging from the evidence presented, he’s a poser. Anyone that uses someone else’s work and doesn’t cite the source is an illegitimate, untalented, mediocre motherfucker.

  13. Mathilde says:

    i’m not sure if i agree on the plagiarism point but i’m with you on the general shepard fairey hate, total wank. worst of all is that people everywhere hail this kind of crap as genius. for me this definitely is not art, nor even anything close to it.

  14. HelOnWheels says:

    I’m with fashion herald: graphic artist, yes. Litigious self-important plagiarising a-hole, certainly. Successful guerrilla artist, hell no!

  15. Mark says:

    Agree. That “Obey” bullshit was tired three days after he first spray-painted it. Fuck him.

  16. andrewarhol says:

    why all the vitriole? your summary ignorance over-rides any individual points you each are trying to convey. the joke is on you as your blood-pressures push the mercury out of the top of your “artistic” sphyngomanometers. go back to artschool and this time pay more attention to the media that the seminal artists of each era uses and often exploits to make a point, yes, send a message… Now go and Obey your mother and wash your mouths out with soap and a stiff Brillo

  17. Banksy aka Jack'd Ya Hood says:

    Wake up People Shepherd Fairey’s art shamelessly participates in the commodification of appropriated cultures and languages with unabashed support of the capitalist economy while simultaneously using the images of anti-capitalist revolutionaries to make himself rich. Shepherd Fairy represents postcolonial exploitative discourse not the populist voice rearing the ugly head of the snake of dishonesty and greed, like a disaffected tourist outsider Shepherd pillages the work of important political and cultural movements and economically authors the oeuvre of artists like René Mederos and other political activist along with their motifs and images to advance his finance and his great name in our community. Nothing is sacred for this private schooled boy as he takes the image of Subcomandante Marcos, slaps the OBEY logo on it, and sells it for profit, in effect, creating an advertisement for his politically correct company through the appropriation of the image of a revolutionary anti-capitalist. This is a corporation not a true artist who is supported by money fed publicity machine who will exploit anything in their way. His Publicity Machine smears the name of outspoken critic like Mark Vallens fabricating stories of his character; they challenge Mannie Garcia¹s and the AP lawsuit in retaining top lawyers in the field of intellectual property at Stanford University to cite fair use law instead of acknowledging their mistakes. Now in embarrassment and in bad taste for the ICA he has been given a retrospective by a curator named Dackerman who only allows certain questions to be asked by her corporate-funded Museum all the while a protest takes place outside demanding that the AP photographer Mannie Garcia’s name be credited and compensated. When Museum conjures a 20 year retrospectives I have to ask where’s my shoe?

    Character Approved Rebel Artist…

  18. yackie says:

    Paint by numbers, I think

  19. andrew says:

    young feed off the old.
    go look a drying leaf. keep it secret.
    fair use.

    everyone will catch up at the end.

  20. beentheredonethat says:

    Talentless too a certain degree but, skilled enough to make all pay attention….this Fairey went to art school…yes kiddies, he went to RISD in Rhode Island….not bad for an artist, ha….the masses of retards out there bought into this guys world along time ago….hence, Andre the Giant….he’s been at it a while….he works hard but, is confused as fuck….here he benefiting from Capitalism, when he uses socialist and communist key figures of the past….never being original, will be his downfall and plagiarism is all he’s ever had going for him…

  21. jeez says:

    bank said it pretty well, and i’ve been saying it a long fucking time: this dude is the colonizer and the exploiter. he is “the man.” he is neither revolutionary nor of the oppressed. what he is is a privileged, manipulative, opportunistic capitalist. how dare he use our icons for his profit! people either fucking think or they don’t. all his followers are the tragically hip but thought devoid fashion conscious scene makers. on every level this guy is a piece of shit; let me add one more: i’ve ran into him at least a couple times (we have a mutual friend who is of the type i describe above,) and he has come off each time as a braggart/glory hound, or dismissive snob. if it weren’t for the fact i was at work when he stared down his nose at me i would’ve smacked the shit outta him. (especially seeing as how the first time he was so insistent on getting praise.) i back mear fully against this rich bitch. if you’re gonna do “street” art, you better back your shit up, didactic dick. but hey, that’s the problem with modern youth: it’s got nothing to do with integrity, and everything to do with being seen/scene. fuck’em all.

  22. DERK says:

    I agree with everyones’ comments above and will add simply this that almost repeats what @hammiesays said, Why is it that if a student in any type of art program had something of the nature in which this fuckin’ fake is putting out they would be accused of plaigarism so why is that he shouldn’t be held to the same standard???????? I shit on OBEY. How about Obey the rules of the streets if that’s what you’re going to pretend to be is a “street artist”. Fuck an Obey

  23. DERK says:

    oh ya, real original name Andrewwarhol……. BWAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH!!!!! I like your 5 dollar words that lead nowhere

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