Partners In Design

12.04.2007

Shepard Fairey

Most well known for his "Obey Giant" street posters, Shepard Fairey has carefully nurtured a reputation as a heroic guerilla street artist waging a one man campaign against the corporate powers-that-be. Infantile posturing aside, Fairey’s art is problematic for another, more troubling reason - that of plagiarism. - Mark Vallen

Artist and art critic Mark Vallen accuses Shepard Fairey of plagiarism in this very long winded article and interesting article.

What do you think?


via SpeakUp

9 comments:

Juan Pablo Dominguez said...

very interesting article indeed.
I still have to side with my idol Shepard, the German Shepherd!

Mack said...

Mark Vallen is simply trying to jumpstart his go-nowhere career by bashing someone who actually HAS one. It's a time-honored tradition among the second-rate and failing. The fact that he passed out literature-- including HIS OWN ART-- amongst those standing in line at Fairey's show ought to tell you he's simply an opportunist out to raise his own profile. If he were truly interested in constructive dialogue he would have picked up the phone and made the local call to Fairey to ask him about it. Then, if he wasn't satisfied with the answers-- or at least wanted to include them-- he could have offered up the other side of the coin. Instead, he posted a shrill call of "Look at Me!" in hopes of selling a few more canvases of his Jr. High caliber artwork. Pretty sad, really.

Alexandra said...

I like Fairey's approach to his work (the stencil look, collage, etc), but I find myself disappointed that he hasn't made something completely original. I say original knowing that all painters and designers can be unconsciously influenced by others and it may show in their work. But I never realized how much Fairey "borrowed" from old propaganda posters.

And it's funny b/c Shal and I were browsing through old Cuban and Chinese poster art yesterday, so I recognize a few of these.

Shalimar said...

Thanks Mack, for commenting. I am siding with you, that is exactly what it feels like.

posterboy said...

I don't know where poster "Mack" gets his/her information, but Mark Vallen denies even having _been_ to the Fairey opening in question, and I wonder how "Mack" is so sure that Mr. Vallen didn't call Mr. Fairey. He may hold his opinions of Mark Vallen's career and critique of Fairey, but this "defense" is pretty lame. How about addressing the substance of the article?

Mack said...

Does Vallen deny that his verbose polemic (that needed an additional three writers to produce) was passed out, along with limited editions of his artwork, to Fairey show-goers in L.A.? No, of course he doesn't. Only that he wasn't there. Why? Because the packets WERE passed out in a flurry of opportunistic profile-raising. (Let's sell some canvasses! Daddy needs to buy Christmas presents!) Does he state that he picked up the phone and called Fairey for his opinion? No, of course not, he only questions how others "know" he didn't. (That would take balls!)

I didn't post a defense of Fairey-- anyone who knows his art knows it to be absurdist propaganda that relies on contextual placement. (Oh wait. Vallen (and three other writers) didn't, so I guess I can't say "anyone.") He doesn't need my defense.

On the other hand, what Vallen needs to do is take a step away from the self-pity bong and enroll in a technique class or two. Oh. And maybe remove the reference to Fairey in his not-so-short "Short Bio" (that's only 8 pages in length and drops any name he can to say, "Look! I'm SOMEBODY!!").

That would be the better way to raise his profile.

G147 said...

Nah, all that Obey shit is only jocked by first year graphic design students and people with zero taste.

Most of all, this douche bag makes large bank off everyone that thinks he's so great.

Plus he keeps biting Fuct.

Anonymous said...

Mark Vallen is a hack.

erik said...

here is an updated link for you:
http://www.supertouchart.com/2009/02/02/editorial-the-medium-is-the-message-shepard-fairey-and-the-art-of-appropriation/