The Eastsider L.A. ran an interesting piece recently about renowned street artist Shepard Fairey having the brick walls of his Echo Park studio-gallery sandblasted and coated with anti-graffiti sealant. The post, "This is One Wall Shepard Fairey Wants to Keep Free of Self-Expression," noted that Fairey, the creator of the iconic Obama Hope poster illustration, had recently pleaded guilty to acts of vandalism in Boston. The implication was clear -- that Fairey was not practicing what he tagged. In an emailed response to a question for the piece, Fairey told Eastsider blogger Jesus Sanchez that the repeated tags of Fairey's Sunset Boulevard Building were taking a toll on the brick walls, which he wanted to protect.
The post ran Monday and Sanchez soon received a second email from Fairey. In the blistering missive posted on Eastsider L.A. today, Fairey went on the warpath, denouncing the story as "obnoxious" and "a cheap shot."
"I'm not mad at the graff artists who have hit our building," Fairey wrote, "I just like the brick unadorned. I think it is important for people to be
able to speak freely, but if I'm watching a channel whose content is
not my cup of tea I may choose to change the channel. It does not make
me an opponent of free speech."
Fairey was clearly pissed and both impugned Sanchez's integrity as a
writer and attacked him personally. Toward the end of his email, Fairey
said, "If you have any integrity you will post my response along with
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your home and office address as an invitation for people to display
their art there. Your attempt to portray me as hypocrite was thinly
veiled incitement for people to tag our building."
Eastsider readers have responded with a large number of divided comments, with a discernable majority seeming to line up against Fairey.