Shepard Fairey, who spent much of May painting the vast black, white and red mural that now decorates the Compuware building at Campus Martius, also put up at least 23 unauthorized art works, tagging buildings all over Detroit. Police claim Fairey did $9K in damage to the nine properties mentioned in the warrant. Officials say Fairey tagged at least fourteen more, but the owners of those buildings either can't be found or don't want to press charges.
Famous for his Andre the Giant "Obey" tag, found today on t-shirts, posters and (perhaps even) fanny packs, Fairey created the iconic "hope" image of Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign. Some of the remaining Fairey tags can be found at Eastern Market (Andre the Giant is helpfully placed next to a surveillance camera), Big Brother looks down from a boarded deco building on Jefferson, and there's even a tag on the Imagination Station next to Michigan Central Station. Quicken Loans founder and CEO Dan Gilbert, who brought Fairey in to do the 184-foot tall foot Campus Martius mural, also commissioned a one the artist's tags for his the Belt Alley outdoor gallery adjacent to Z Garage, an award-winning structure at Broadway and Grand River owned by Gilbert's Bedrock Real Estate Services.
While the Fairey works show restraint and many consider them beautiful additions to the city or political commentary on disrepair, other taggers don't have Fairey's skill, aesthetic or fundamental respect for the canvass of a tagged building, and tagging remains a problem in Detroit. But Fairey is also not the only artist to effectively use derelict structures. In 2012, Los Angeles artists Revok and Jim Darling used the abandoned 90-year-old Woods Cathedral Church of God in Christ to stage an installation they titled "Sunday Mass."
So far, Fairey has ignored the warrant, but police say they'll arrest him—if he ever returns to Detroit. - Rebecca Golden
· 15 images: Artist mocks surveillance, wealth with – and without – billionaire's blessing [Motor City Muckraker]
· Downtown's New Shepard Fairey Mural is Officially Done [Curbed Detroit]
· Police issue felony arrest warrant for Shepard Fairey [Freep]