Over in the Quickies, I recently tossed up an interview with Milton Glaser regarding the work of Shepard Fairey, and it sparked some heated discussion. I thought it’d be interesting to put the issue front and center for a little Motionographer Talk Cycle action.
If you aren’t familiar with Shepard Fairey, take a minute to read up on him (yes, that’s a Wikipedia link). Well-known in design and street art circles for his Obey imagery, Fairey’s more recent Obama posters (see above) launched him into the mainstream, spawning hundreds of variations from friends and foes alike.
It turns out the Obama work (like much of Fairey’s work) was based on a copyrighted image, in this case owned by news media giant Associated Press. Fairey, sensing an eminent lawsuit, filed a pre-emptive lawsuit against AP in order to protect himself from claims of copyright infringement.
All this, combined with a retrospective show at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, has brought Fairey’s body of work under the most public scrutiny the artist/designer has yet endured. He’s long been under fire for his creative practices, but now he’s bubbling up in mainstream media’s headlines.
Most of the coverage, including the impassioned comments of readers, touches on a rich complex of issues, including authorship, originality, art vs. design, and commercial interest vs. artistic expression.
Okay, so now for the poll:
For further reading on this subject, check out: