November 3, 2007

Shepard Fairey in London

"Frank Shepard Fairey: Nineteeneightyfouria," StolenSpace, London. Through Nov.25.

On the occasion of Fairey's inaugural London exhibition, The Guardian reporter Alex Rayner talks to scoundrel, chief propagandist and provocateur Shepard Fairey, creator of the ubiquitous "Andre the Giant" stickers. "What sets Fairey apart from other graffiti fanatics is the scale of his Giant campaign. The Andre image predates most other street-poster graffiti artists and Giant heads have been plastered up in Japan, Russia, Italy and Paris, as well as numerous sites throughout the UK and the US. Even British stencil artist, Banksy, cites Fairey as an influence. 'I think he really liked how prolific I was,' says Shepard, seated in the Brick Lane warehouse which will serve as his gallery. 'When he travelled almost anywhere, he'd see my stuff, and he knew that it was mostly me putting it up.' He puts some of his determination down to an unfortunate source. 'I'm diabetic,' Fairey says. 'I'm probably going to die 15 to 20 years before most other people. So, it's just the meaning of life thing: what does it all mean?' The wiry 37-year-old then laughs a little, before adding: 'it means nothing!'" Read more.

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