After pleading guilty to vandalism charges in Boston over his guerrilla art tactics, artist Shepard Fairey had to deal with acts of vandalism closer to home. A few days ago workers sandblasted the brick exterior of his Echo Park studio, gallery and ad agency – called Studio Number One – and applied a shiny layer of anti-graffiti coating to the walls. Frequent tagging and graffiti had apparently taken a toll on the Sunset Boulevard building and Fairey, who rose to fame by employing the same hit-and-run tactics of graffiti artists and taggers.
“When graff seeped into the raw brick it was very difficult to clean,” said Fairey, creator of the Obama “Hope” poster, in an email forwarded by one of his employees. “The building is historic and I love and want to protect the brick. The city was never any help with removal. Graffiti is par for the course.”
The expensive layer of anti-graffiti coating won’t prevent tagging. But it will make removing spray paint much easier and faster and perhaps make Fairey’s big brick wall a less inviting canvas for taggers.
“Obviously I have experience with graff,” said Fairey, “and there is not much point hitting a spot that will be cleaned immediately.”