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Shepard Fairey’s Mural In Hillcrest Gets Tagged - PHOTOS

Above: Wide shot of the Shepard Fairey mural in Hillcrest that was tagged last night with blue spray paint.

The employees of Urban Outfitters in Hillcrest arrived to work early this morning to discover the mural on the side of their building - by renowned street artist Shepard Fairey - tagged with blue spray paint. The mural was commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego as part of their street art exhibit, "Viva la RevoluciĆ³n: A Dialogue with the Urban Landscape." Close to 50% of that exhibition includes works in the public sphere. In other words, unprotected on the streets of San Diego.

Pedro Alonzo co-curated the exhibit. He says, "in the past when Shepard's work has been attacked, it was often by those who were unhappy with the content, like seeing an Arab woman with an AK-47. This seems to be an artist just looking for attention. There doesn't seem to be a statement being made."

Jamie McDermott is a display artist at Urban Outfitters and a graffiti artist who has been enjoying the mural as he comes to work. He says he was blown away when he saw the tag this morning. "I've done graffiti for years and - of course all art is temporary - but you don't go over someone if you can't add to it. That [the tag] is not even art."

Alonzo emphasizes that the mural and the other work by street artists currently up on walls throughout the city is art. "However people feel about this genre, it is art. There's a reason why it's in this show and it's part of a public project. We went through a lot of trouble to get it up." Fairey worked on the Hillcrest mural for four days.

Alonzo says this is part of what happens when you leave the controlled environment of the museum or gallery space. "But this looks like someone trying to gain attention by being a parasite, feeding off the host."

As of 10:30 this morning, Alonzo had not yet told Shepard Fairey. He was going to send him an email as soon as we got off the phone.

The mural is on the side of Urban Outfitters. Employees arrived at 6a.m. August 6 and discovered the blue spray paint.

Above: The mural is on the side of Urban Outfitters. Employees arrived at 6a.m. August 6 and discovered the blue spray paint.

The employees at Urban Outfitters tried to decipher the tag. The store's display artist, Jamie McDermott thinks it may say "Polo Joe" but admits it's hard to tell.

Above: The employees at Urban Outfitters tried to decipher the tag. The store's display artist, Jamie McDermott thinks it may say "Polo Joe" but admits it's hard to tell.

A close up of the tag over Shepard Fairey's mural in Hillcrest.

Above: A close up of the tag over Shepard Fairey's mural in Hillcrest.

Deciphering the tag is difficult. It does appear to say "Joe." Viva curator Pedro Alonzo said this tagger appears to be the same that tagged the mural shortly after it went up, but that was repaired.

Above: Deciphering the tag is difficult. It does appear to say "Joe." Viva curator Pedro Alonzo said this tagger appears to be the same that tagged the mural shortly after it went up, but that was repaired.

The mural has been up since July 14th and took Fairey 3-4 days to create.

Above: The mural has been up since July 14th and took Fairey 3-4 days to create.

Evidence?

Above: Evidence?

Comments

Avatar for user 'hboooo'

hboooo | August 6, 2010 at 2:51 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

thats what he gets for being a sucka wanna be revoloutionary. Maybe he can go ask his homie barack to let him paint the white house. hes gonna need secrect service for any of these wack installations.... what a sell out!!

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Avatar for user 'bix'

bix | August 6, 2010 at 4:42 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

if "selling out" means being able to make art all day sign me up and boot me out of my actually-am-a-sellout job. honestly...wtf.

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Avatar for user 'banshee'

banshee | August 6, 2010 at 4:54 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

I object to Mr. Alonzo referring to the scum tagger as an "artist". This is not "art" by an "artist" by any stretch of the imagination.

Alot of true graffiti is "art" - tagging, however, is NOT. It's just a sign of disrespect.

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Avatar for user 'MetalUnicorn'

MetalUnicorn | August 6, 2010 at 6:55 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

Its not about Shepard, or if U think hes fo real or even if U like his art. its bigger than that. Its about Respect. Angela Davis is on that wall, kickin it in all her glory, and the symbolism of our times... its your city, that building, art, your neighbors and your history U are defacing...

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Avatar for user 'rpaulson'

rpaulson | August 6, 2010 at 9:21 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

There seems to be much similarity between the blue tag on the mural and ID of the disgusting comment above. Re:" hboooo" My guess it that "hboooo" is the tagger and he came here to feed his tiny ego and to add more disrespect. Just sayin'. "hbooo's" shoe would probably match the print he left. Either way, his gangsta ghetto speak displays his ignorance for all to see.

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Avatar for user 'oldschoolcool'

oldschoolcool | August 7, 2010 at 7:40 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

Taggers are cowards and losers. Clueless parasites hiding in the bushes. Not enough brain power to realize how pathetic and sad they are.

Maggots and Posers.

Every time.

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Avatar for user 'carrizojim'

carrizojim | August 7, 2010 at 9:15 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

Angela Davis? Really? The murder accomplice, socialist and communist that wants all prisons abolished? Yes, I agree she is definitely a symbol of our times... and a good portion of what is wrong with society. Criminals do not have any respect either...

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Avatar for user 'NubioFedora'

NubioFedora | August 7, 2010 at 9:47 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

That's what he gets? This mural became an instant landmark by a major international artist. It's also f-ing great, IMHO. Wanna see a wannabe? Glance in the mirror, Amigo.
I was thrilled the first time I saw that work and I am still thrilled. Let's get it repaired and somehow protected. This city deserves great public art.

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Avatar for user 'crybabysoda'

crybabysoda | August 7, 2010 at 7:51 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

Am I drinking the Hater-Aid or is the SD art establishment drinking the Shep Kool Aid? I like ShepF's designs like I like a really good mixTape - he is an assembler of other people's art. The dude pretty much cuts, pastes and adds photoshop effects...When he was truly an agent of the street - he was an artist - a performance artist. He is clearly a brand now - and he doesn't have a lot of qualms about how he CONTROL COPY PASTES and then copyrites the work as his own...(a quick google investigation and you can see how he appropriates by slapping an OBEY logo on Chinese/Cuban propoganda posters or photos like the Angela Davis mentioned above...see Milton Fraser or Mark VAllen's critique of Shep ). I like the murals - but if McDonald's did what Shep Fairey does, appropriate others images with barely any modification - I wonder if they would get a show at the Museum....

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Avatar for user 'Angela Carone'

Angela Carone, KPBS Staff | August 9, 2010 at 8:51 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

@crybabysoda - thanks for your insight, as always. I would only add that I don't think the San Diego art establishment (not sure what exactly that is) is championing Shepard Fairey's work on SD streets more than the general public.

He's only one of 20 artists from around the world in MCASD's street art show. The media - this writer included - launched discussion of Viva with his work because he's the most high profile artist in the show and it's a way to give people a touchstone. So if there's an establishment to blame for creating local buzz for Fairey, it's the media.

On the other hand, one could argue more people are seeing Viva at MCASD because they heard Shepard Fairey (and maybe Banksy) are in it. More people in a museum is always good, in my opinion.

When word started to spread that the Hillcrest piece was tagged, I heard from a lot of people via email and twitter who were not artists, curators, or gallery owners - just SD community members - who were bummed because they really like the work.

Looking forward to reading critiques you cited above.

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Avatar for user 'monobroad'

monobroad | August 10, 2010 at 10:54 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

crybabysoda's critique aside regarding the technique (and copyright issues), to me the underlying problem now of Shep is the corporate aspect. I'm not talking about the artists personal success; to bix's point, making money off your art shouldn't negate the quality. The issue is that, using this example in particular, the art has the potential to become just another ad. This mural wasn't posted on some random wall in San Diego. It was placed on the wall supporting the entrance to the corporation that sells his company's goods. Why this wall in particular? Because he would have permission, or because it would attract admirers to a location that conveniently sells Obey clothing? Again, bravo on taking a street art side project and turning it into a financial reward beyond all expectations, but there is a point where the art produced now comes in question to the assumed goal. Supporting his town with a new mural, or assisting a store which houses his product? Neither viewpoints will prevent me from removing my framed Obey poster that I've had for a decade on my wall at home. And all discussion aside, I don't agree with the vandals to this mural, no matter their reason.

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Avatar for user 'hboooo'

hboooo | August 11, 2010 at 10:07 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

like i said. hes gonna need secret service for these wack ass installations.

and incase you didnt know how much of a biter he is...please start here. then continue on with the immense amount of documentation on how this man steals others art work...makes money off of it..then acts like hes grassroots...more like a snake in the grass.

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Avatar for user 'hboooo'

hboooo | August 11, 2010 at 10:07 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

heres the link to his weakness

http://www.art-for-a-change.com/Obey/index.htm

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Avatar for user 'hboooo'

hboooo | August 12, 2010 at 2:09 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

what still no back lash....did yall check the link....can we say plagarism...

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Avatar for user 'Ike'

Ike | August 12, 2010 at 10 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

Who cares if the ideas are not original since the ideas themselves are golden. The tagger is merely a vandalist; incapable of concieving his own ideas, so he destroys other peoples' work instead. I like the mural and I like what it stands for. The vandal was probably some idiot hired by a multi-billionaire to deface a piece of counter-culture rebellious artwork.

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Avatar for user 'hboooo'

hboooo | August 13, 2010 at 1:31 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

counter-culture rebellious artwork???? plllllease.. Promoting global warming mythology is far from counter culture...thats about as main stream as you can get...have you watched the tv lately...heard of CAP AND TRADE....

as for him stealing ideas im sure the people who he steals them from care very much...especially since he gives no props to them and touts them as his own...even the FAIREY man himself has sued people of stealing his ideas....read here

http://animalnewyork.com/2008/04/shepard-fairey-threatens-to-sue-artist-for-obey-giant-parody/

the only billonaire hiring anybody are the cia folks running the white house paying FAIREY to propogate thier latest puppet OBAMA.....please think about what your saying....he works FOR THE GOVERMENT...you know the guys who are in IRAQ killing families....in afghanistan growning smack....where is the rebellion in that...

you notice he doesnt come out and crtitcize these things going on...no he just steals what were once revoloutionary ideas (still are in their original context) then devoids them of meaning by mass producing the image with no reference to it orgin....this is worse than stealing...this is RAPE...

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Avatar for user 'hboooo'

hboooo | August 13, 2010 at 1:47 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

even bettter...this is comedy...

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Avatar for user 'hboooo'

hboooo | August 14, 2010 at 10:07 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

disobey duh fairey

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Avatar for user 'coreylee'

coreylee | August 15, 2010 at 4:10 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

oldschoolcool is lame as hell. first off i'm pretty sure this guy used an antique fire extinguisher filled with paint to get up with, this is hard enough. 2 shepard is supposed to be a graff artist so he shouldnt care, if anything its graffiti at its rawest.

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Avatar for user 'evolution'

evolution | August 16, 2010 at 1:34 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Avatar for user 'kate_bird'

kate_bird | August 16, 2010 at 3:19 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

Weird, but I had the same feeling about "hbooo" too. Hbooo comes off a little too eager and ignorant in his posts - maybe someone should check it out.
ANYWAYS
Whoever "joe" is, he spray-painted (I refuse to even use the word "tag" for his sloppy ass work) a bunch of places in North Park. All unoriginal, amateur, and dumb-looking. Hope he falls off a roof next time he goes around town with his can.

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Avatar for user 'hboooo'

hboooo | August 17, 2010 at 11:20 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

too eager....maybe someone should check yet...

what does this even mean????

maybe someone should call the cops???

OBEY OBAMA OBEY OBAMA OBEY OBAMA OBEY HOPE OBEY OBAMA....

i wouldnt waste my piss on the FARIEYS propoganda....let alone some pretty blue paint...

but I would like to see him on the streets and ask him some questions...like if he knows the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere...

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Avatar for user 'TitoFrescas'

TitoFrescas | August 17, 2010 at 1:07 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

The whole Shepard Fairey plagiarism controversy kind of reminds me of some of my favorite hip hop/trip hop producers. Producers and bands such as Dj Shadow, Dj Premier, Dan the Automator, The Beatsie Boys, and Portishead borrow heavily from recording artists of the past. Since I didn't grow up in the sixties and seventies, and my parents were Manillow and Neil Diamond fans, it's because of the sampled based music of these bands and dj's that i have gone back and become huge fans of the artists they sampled in their works. I have discovered amazing music by soul jazz, funk, and rare groove artists like Jimmy Smith, Galt McDermott, The Meters, Groove Holmes, Reuben Wilson, Ronnie Foster, Grant Green, and David Axelrod to name a few.

I guess it's all about how you look at the relationship between new borrowing artists and the great artists they sampled or borrowed from. In a way they are recycling and teaching about great art and music. That is, if they give the original artists the credit they deserve...

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Avatar for user 'hboooo'

hboooo | August 17, 2010 at 4:13 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

That is, if they give the original artists the credit they deserve...

This is a very good point.....but alot of those samples you heard from those new bands were PAID for...

but what does the fairey man do?????

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2009/10/shepard-fairey-admits-to-wrongdoing-in-associated-press-lawsuit.html

he lies about his source...he cheats to cover his lies....

as an artist its obvious that FAIREY has no morals...

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Avatar for user 'hboooo'

hboooo | August 20, 2010 at 11:57 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

no takers on that last post eh!!!!!!!

its all good. ..

IM USED TO BEING RIGHT.

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Avatar for user 'longdistancedrunk'

longdistancedrunk | August 20, 2010 at 11:51 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

wow, that is quite a string of comments. hboooo, i'm going to assume that you've contributed more to society than internet rants. all the same, would this be the first time someone lied, cheated or stole their way to success? welcome to america. welcome to real life. sure it'd be nice to credit EVERY SINGLE PERSON who EVER contributed to an idea/style/concept/etc, but i'm not going to pinch a loaf in my pants every time someone else profits off something unoriginal. why don't you fault the founding artists for not doing it well enough to achieve the same level of recognition? ...and the tag sucks. just because the degree of difficulty is high, it doesn't justify a terrible product.

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Avatar for user 'hboooo'

hboooo | August 23, 2010 at 7:22 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

"just because the degree of difficulty is high, it doesn't justify a terrible product"

I never said the tag was Good. In fact it really sucks really bad!!! hahahah

But by the same logic so does the installation..

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Avatar for user 'hboooo'

hboooo | September 10, 2010 at 3:04 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

NO ART!!!!!!!!!

http://thehamblogggerman.blogspot.com/2010/09/disobey-duh-fairey.html

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Avatar for user 'PorkmanDelardo'

PorkmanDelardo | September 11, 2010 at 9:34 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I think the blue tag should be left as is. In my opinion it adds new depth literally and figuratively to the piece. If the artist had defaced his own piece after creating it, he would have been considered creative and thought provoking. Now we have a true taggers reaction to the piece and it is still creative and thought provoking. Something about the art moved the tagger to do such a thing. I would like to meet that person just to find out what kind of person he/she really is to be moved to take such action. Leave the mural alone, have Fairey come back out, re-sign the piece and give the revised version his blessing.If anything, I am sure his original intent in creating the piece was to provoke. It worked. Porkman.

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Avatar for user 'hboooo'

hboooo | September 11, 2010 at 10:09 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

word up..ide like to meet porkman and share some raw vegan lemon cheezekake....we should put an apb out for polo joe and see if we can get an interview...some really grimey underground ish..

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Avatar for user 'ohhyess'

ohhyess | November 18, 2010 at 10:51 a.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

hboooo trolling hard on KPBS. ok so Fairey is a cheater.gotcha. so.... what are you doing to contribute to society besides being a goon on the internet.

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Avatar for user 'hboooo'

hboooo | November 18, 2010 at 2:21 p.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

making an album..taking acid on black beach..taking long walks along university..having dinner with my family....not really into society...i like individual people.

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Avatar for user 'ohhyess'

ohhyess | January 18, 2011 at 10:45 a.m. ― 3 years, 2 months ago

AHAHAHAHA making an album! let me guess your an upcoming underground hip hop emcee trying to make it big. so original LOL. good luck with that album

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