Shepard Fairey: From “HOPE” to “DAMAGED”

November 21, 2017
- Extracurriculars
Author - Katherine Fox

We love our digs in the Arts District. From funky bars to the you-can’t-even-get-a-reservation restaurants, there’s a whole lot of culture to soak up in the surrounding parts.

So when we heard about the new Shepard Fairey exhibition (his first solo LA show in nearly 10 years) that’s happening around the corner from our office, we knew we had to check it out.

If the name Shepard Fairey means nothing to you, the image of Obama might. Fairey is responsible for the ubiquitous Obama campaign poster. You know, the one in red, white, and blue with the word “HOPE” across it.

Fairey’s work is a prime example of the types of conversations and cultural moments that can be captured and created from and by art. In his latest exhibition, DAMAGED, Los Angeles-based Fairey displays his response to the current political climate, which just so happens to be a complete shift from the message of hope that was alive and well when he crafted Obama’s campaign poster.

The first step in inciting change is recognizing something needs to be fixed, and DAMAGED is a reflection on that. A highly visual one, of course.

Fairey, who is no stranger to politically-charged art, uses the large warehouse where DAMAGED is staged to fully encapsulate his message. Artwork covers the walls and Fairey uses various props that we interact with every single day—a phone booth, newsstand, and large billboard—to help highlight the issues that are impacting the country from a personal and individual lens all the way up to a national one.

Stacks of newspapers fill the venue, and guests are invited to take a copy (or two or three) to bring the show home with them—playing into Fairey’s ethos of artwork having no rules or bounds.

The show simultaneously reflects on the current social and political landscape while taking you back to the origins of Fairey’s story—both personal and professional—and the tales that come with years of slapping stickers and posters of Andre the Giant on surfaces across the globe. It’s inspiring, artful, and totally worth checking out.

DAMAGED is open until December 17 at 1650 Naud Street in DTLA. Learn more about it here.

Featured image from The New York Times.