Shepard Fairey on art, West Hollywood, graffiti

Shepard-Fairey-independent.jpgArtist Shepard Fairey is creating two murals for the new West Hollywood library, which opens in a few weeks (on Oct. 1.) He was installing a floor-to-ceiling piece outside the new City Council chambers (located in the building) when L.A. Independent managing editor John Moreno caught up with Fairey. Excerpt from their Q&A:

In your view, how do West Hollywood and Los Angeles compare to other cities as venues for both street art and gallery exhibits?

I look at L.A. as a place that’s got lots of different opportunities — there’s good galleries, there’s good museums here. It’s a fairly clean city, which makes it maybe not as appealing for street art as a place like New York or Paris or Berlin...The cool thing about West Hollywood is, there’s opportunities like the huge mural on the back of the parking garage that I did and this opportunity here. They do things like have artists paint the oversize Gibson guitars that get put up in public. There’s a friendliness towards art that’s more sanctioned. It’s very clean, there’s not much graffiti. I look at graffiti like freedom of speech, where it’s not wanted sometimes....[I] see it as sometimes put in places where it’s a little bit obnoxious."

Photo: Gary McCarthy

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