We have officially turned on Shepard Fairey. It took a lot, but he’s finally soured us on the idea of him ever doing anything at all.
It took a lot. His early work was so interesting, he’s paved the way for a lot of more interesting street art, and let’s face it: the Obama poster buys a lot of good will. But he’s finally run through the last bits of it.
It started with the sloppy cash-in that is his online store, but apparently the embarrassment isn’t ending there. The constant self-plagiarism was getting a little bit much, but even that we could have handled. (A good cause is a good cause, after all.) But his latest stint making shopping bags and posters for Saks Fifth Avenue is too much for us to take. Sorry, Shep. You lost us.
Lots of commercial illustrators do fine work, but being an artist is supposed to be a step up, and it’s not clear why someone as established as Fairey has to step outside of it to make money. It just ends up looking like he was using street art to reach his dream of being a marketer. And, to make things even worse, Stolichnaya has been pushing the Soviet chic angle for a long time, so even by marketing standards, it’s hardly original.
Not to be a hater, but you don’t see Banksy doing this sort of thing.