Shepard Fairey Does Street Art on L.A. Buses, Doesn't Get Arrested

Shepard Fairey Does Street Art on L.A. Buses, Doesn't Get Arrested
Fairey's work via L.A. Fund / Alex J. Berliner.

What happens when you do your art on Metro transit property? If you're a "lesser" artist, you're targeted by authorities, fined and sometimes even jailed, which is what happened to Revok in 2011 when his probation was, yes, essentially revoked.

If you're Shepard Fairey, prolific seller of Obey brand T-shirts, however, you get prime Metro bus space -- full-on wraps -- to further your business in the name of education:

Look at that bus (and there's more than one, apparently). It just screams the colors and themes of Fairey's Obey Clothing company. And it's aimed at his prime market, teenagers.

Shepard Fairey Does Street Art on L.A. Buses, Doesn't Get Arrested

Yes, it's true. The nonprofit Los Angeles Fund for Education unveiled its Fairey-blessed Metro buses and billboards this week with much fanfare.

The idea, states the organization, is to display "hundreds of billboards promoting the importance of creative thinking in education."

Fairey asked students, "What does the world look like when you take away the things that limit you?"

He got hundreds of replies via social media (hashtag #ArtsMatter) and came up with this ad for Obey artwork. (We wonder how much it would have cost Obey to buy wrap-around ads on buses.)

You can even get your own limited-edition Fairey tote if you donate $500 or more to L.A. Fund.

So the lesson here is, kids, it's illegal to do art on buses unless you're a millionaire.

We kid! Sort of.

The art is probably a good, positive thing overall. Fairey himself paid his dues on the streets. And kids do look up to him. He even DJs.

The L.A. Fund folks explain that Fairey came up with some cool symbolism about green energy, freedom, peace, creativity and, something he knows about, financial success!

His message: "Create Your Future!"

And, heck, Mario Lopez, a product of the Chula Vista public school system south of San Diego, if memory serves, was on hand to help unveil the art. He's down.

Shepard Fairey Does Street Art on L.A. Buses, Doesn't Get Arrested
LA Fund / Alex J. Berliner

L.A. Fund is a project of L.A. Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy. Basically, he's raising cash to augment the crappy state of our public schools because of the greed of Proposition 13 property-tax cuts and those white people who have pulled their kids and resources from the district.

It's sort of like that teacher who buys her own classroom supplies, except on a grand level.

In fact, this art show was part of L.A. Fund's campaign to get $750,000 to pay for something -- arts programs -- that used to be standard in public schools. Fairey apparently donated his marketing materials art.

Megan Chernin, L.A. Fund CEO, says:

Through the arts, we can nurture creativity in our youth and prepare them to be the creative thinkers we will need tomorrow.

Maybe this will inspire the next outlaw street artist-cum-clothing magnate. Let's hope he doesn't end up in prison first.

See also: Los Angeles' War on Street Artists.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.


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