Shepard Fairey tags The Eastsider as “obnoxious”

The Eastsider posted a story earlier this week about artist Shepard Fairey protecting his Echo Park studio and office building from taggers and vandals a few weeks after he plead guilty to vandalism charges for his street art tactics. He is obviously not pleased with the story and wanted an opportunity to respond:

“Your post about the sealer on our building was very obnoxious. Do you just not give a shit about objectivity? My practice as a street artist has NEVER included putting my work on pristine or operational buildings unless asked to do so. I’m not mad at the graff artists who have hit our building, I just like the brick unadorned. I’ve always been a champion of street art and graffiti in the same way I’m a champion of free speech. I think it is important for people to be able to speak freely, but if I’m watching a channel whose content is not my cup of tea I may choose to change the channel. It does not make me an opponent of free speech. Preferring my brick unadorned does not make me anti-graffiti. Every time I put a piece of art on the street I know it may be cleaned. That is the nature of the art form. Our building houses a fucking gallery and we show street artist’s work there and on banners on the side of the building. For you to portray me as anti-street art is very revealing about YOU and YOUR agenda. Are you pro-street art or graffiti? If the answer is yes, then I’d assume based on your portrayal of me, that you’d welcome graffiti on your house or business lest you be revealed to be an anti-art hypocrite. If you have any integrity you will post my response along with your home and office address as an invitation for people to display their art there. Your attempt to portray me as hypocrite was thinly veiled incitement for people to tag our building. I have been arrested 15 times and know the risks of street art. Do you know the risks of being an irresponsible journalist? I responded to your inquiry very politely and you disrespected my candor by taking a cheap shot… writing something irresponsible and sensational to get people to your site. You could have written something more sophisticated and balanced that could have created a worthwhile discussion about public art. Instead you were lazy and obnoxious. Maybe the economy has made you desperate, or maybe you are always slime. Either way, you should be ashamed.”


  1. his obliviousness to the irony of your post just makes him look like that much more of a jackass. who would have guessed that SF was a total NIMBY?

  2. Seems to me that ALL the OLD TIME E.P ACTIVISTS and EPIA,ER’S were always NIMBY’S. If something went wrong it was always those damn Latinos or the Gangs, yet some of those men where chicken hawks preying on our youth, they could suck the big one that was ok? Or film guy on guy porno at Durks LaVeta Terr. dungon! When I was hurt by Jose Sigala from our infamous NC, the Eastsider made a joke out of it and posted 2 sumo westlers. You all are just two faced. I was surprized you even posted my comment. I was your “so called friend” if I volunteered to help you out with the spanish bus tours during Lotus, next day if you walked down the street you turned your face and didn’t even know me. To this day I don’t exist to you, I see you always turning ur face so you don’t make eye contact. Birds of a feather flock together, so I decided to brake away from you all. I don’t shop Echo Park, I don’t go to meetings anymore what for? To see the neighborhood council and YOU guys SELL OUT OUR community to developers like Mitchell Franks?? I love what FAIREY posted, you got some cahones my friend!

  3. I think SF misses the point and the nuances of the situation. It is one thing to support street art (or graffiti, or whatever you choose to call it), but let’s admit that it’s sheer vandalism when there are costs incurred in the removal of said art. Tagging is a way for gangs to lay claim to a neighborhood and intimidate, and therefore, for this homeowner free speech arguments are moot—it is vandalism. SF clearly does not have to worry about the costs of cleaning his building on a regular basis, but most do. His argument is disingenuous not least because the victim of the vandalism has no agency, and removing tags is inherently more costly than changing the channel! I realize that the street art vs. graffiti argument can be racially tinged and sensitive, but also think intent should be taken into consideration. Claiming a neighborhood through intimidation by tagging is not a political act in the interests of free speech; it is an oppressive and violent act.

  4. edit: “on pristine or operational buildings unless *paid* to do so.

  5. I’m with Sheperd all the way on this one. His argument makes sense, whilst the Eastsider blog looks petulant in its assertions about him.

  6. Pure nonsense.

    Fairey is- quite deliberately, in my opinion- attempting to do away with the difference between his 1st Amendment rights, and the right of property owners to not have their possessions appropriated in the course of some “Street Artist”s 1st Amendment rights.

    Apparently, a background in Civics was not among the criteria for admission to RISD- otherwise Fairey would understand the difference between his rights being abridged by his Government- as opposed to a private citizen’s objection to someone ‘creating’ a piece of ‘Street Art’ on their ‘Canvas’.

    I was raised by hippies, for f**ks sake- and even *I* have some idea as to where my ‘rights’ collide with those of others. How crummy and disingenuous to put himself forth as some kind of champion of Free Speech.

  7. I hope that after three years now you have learned just because you may not be as talented and as influential as shepard that doesnt mean
    Make yourself look like a total dumb shit by attacking someone who the art community and a whole generation respects and fallows I hope by now you have learned sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth and thoughts to yourself so that you don’t look like a jerk who is attacking a victim because no matter what shep has done in the past or even now by the eyes of the law he was wronged by the tagging and then by some idiot in a blog

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