A Shepard Fairey mural gets a second chance in Echo Park


Darby Crash looks out on Duane Street | Jesse Saucedo

ECHO PARK –  It has been seven years since artist Shepard Fairey and photographer Gary Leonard collaborated on a mural of punk rocker Darby Crash.  But shortly after the mural went up on the side of a building at Duane Street and Echo Park Avenue, vandals struck, slathering the mural with streaks of blue paint. Leonard, who owns the building, quickly covered up the 15-foot-high mural with sheets of corrugated metal to protect it from further harm. Today, the sheet metal was finally removed as Fairey worked on a new version of the mural.

The vandalism of 2009 disturbed Leonard, who lives in Echo Park.  “This is extreme, and you might want to say, it’s a violent act toward art,” he said at the time. “That being the case, I just covered it up.”  Fairey had agreed to repair the damage but Leonard said he would leave the mural covered “until things cool down.”

Today, friends and fans Fairey, whose studio is located in Echo Park,  and Leonard  stopped by as a crew worked on the new mural, said Jesse Saucedo, who took photos of the scene.

The mural today looks very similar to the damaged artwork but still features a large image of Crash, which is based on a photo that Leonard took in 1980,  holding a skateboard. A black circle with the words  “What we do is secret” was added to the upper right corner and the word “Obey” in the upper left. On his Obey Giant Instagram account, Fairey wrote “Just finished a new mural on Echo Park Ave, in Los Angeles.”

By the end of the afternoon, however, the mural had been covered up with sheets of canvas. It’s not clear when it will be uncovered.


Fairey at work on Darby Crash mural | Jesse Saucedo


Gary Leonard (left) & Shepard Fairey | Jesse Saucedo

Screenshot 2015-12-10 at 3.10.51 PM

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  1. why would gary leonard have shepard fairy do anything to one of his photos

    i hope someone sandblasts this off the building as their tag

    why do we as echo park residents have to look at this crap

    i much prefer the old graffiti

    go do this crap in malibu or something

    • Look man, it’s a nice thing and even if you don’t like it a lot of people will. And even if that does nothing for you, can you at least understand that this was an ugly vacant wall two days ago, and now it’s covered by a mural by very appreciated artist who’s undeniably made a major impact on the art world?
      That corner is a nicer place to walk by now, it makes me happy. There’s a venue somewhere to debate the value and depth of his art but I can’t imagine how big a negative turd you’d have to be to find a problem here.

      • It wasn’t an ugly vacant wall it was a different ugly mural with a Rhino and a helicopter. DOn’t ask me what it meant. But it was’t vacant.

        • I’ve walked by that wall twice a day for 2 years, and every so often for the past ten. It’s always been ugly right there, I can’t even remember for sure what was there last but it was constantly getting tagged, painted, etc. it’s hard to make the case that this isn’t an upgrade.

      • its ugly as hell

        take suburban graffiti back to the suburbs.

        gary leonard is so much cooler than this. he should be embarrassed to have this shepard fairy crap on his building

        he should make a mural of his crazy yard he had or something

  2. ExP or Iron Cross; Gary Leonard does seem to appreciate diversity.

  3. Never mind, that was Peter Shire with the ExP…

  4. Bring back the vandals.

  5. I hope that some little gang-banger-dog-piss tagger won’t ruin it, It used to be that taggers never messed with murals, but unfortunately they don’t seem to have any respect for public art these days.

    • Jealousy causes these murals by successful artists to be targets unfortunately. It’s sick that some of the commenters here are openly rooting for the defacement of art, particularly this one that depicts an icon of Hollywood and LA punk rock.

  6. Hopefully they’ve put on the anti-graffitti coating so they can wash off the tagging mess.

  7. The asshat taggers and gangs have no dignity, honor or respect. They’re just junkyard dogs pissing on everything. They tagged the cool mural on the donut shop. So be prepared to cover this mural up for another 8 years. By then the neighborhood should be pretty much rid of these jerks.

  8. I wish it were closer to a Rock n Roll venue or in Hollywood. Is there any other connection to the location other than the photographer owns the building?

    And before anyone starts criticizing our local taggers, we are talking about Shepard Fairey who has a history with illegal graffiti himself.

  9. I am really not happy about having this Iron Cross imagery on my street (the pendant worn by Darby Crash). My understanding is that the punk movement embraced certain Nazi icons (eg, Vivienne Westwood’s swatika tee shirt). The Iron Cross was used by Nazi Germany. It might not be a swastika but I consider it a form of hate speech. Shepard Fairey recently got called out for using a Nazi skull on one of his t shirt designs. To be clear, I am not saying that Shepard Fairey is a Nazi. I am saying that he is
    ignorant. And we don’t need that kind of ignorance in our neighborhood.

  10. From the Darby Crash Wikipedia page:

    (His) musical and philosophical influences varied from Frederich Nietzsche and David Bowie to Charles Manson and Adolf Hitler

    And from “Conversations With Bobby (aka Darby Crash)”

    “Darby was impressed by Hitler and seemed to think that Hitler was a great leader”

    • Charles M Shorty


      …You can call Adolf Hitler a lot to terrible things, but to say he wasn’t a “great leader” is just false. It would be impossible to have millions of people follow your ideology without a strong leadership quality. Again, I’m not a fan but you shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater…

  11. Shepard Fairey is widely considered to be the artistic voice of his generation not to mention a maker of presidents but I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me to find people complaining even about this mural since there are some people who will complain about anything and everything.

    • …there are even people who complain about those who complain about anything and everything!^^^

    • “widely considered to be the artistic voice of his generation” is what happens when you take comprehensive arts education out of the schools. SF just co ops images he didn’t create and steals them.

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