ARTH138Final - Alvarez 1 Krystal Alvarez Professor Fralick California Art 1945-Present 20 December 2016 Shepard Fairey OBEY and Feminism California has

ARTH138Final - Alvarez 1 Krystal Alvarez Professor Fralick...

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Alvarez 1 Krystal Alvarez Professor Fralick California Art 1945-Present 20 December 2016 Shepard Fairey: OBEY and Feminism California has historically provided artists with the cultural and societal tools to pursue careers in art. Among the hundreds of influential artists California has produced and cultivated is Shepard Fairey, a South Carolina native who creates art from Los Angeles. Although his artwork began with t-shirt and skateboard designs as a college student, he uses his powerful talents to design art pieces beyond ambiguous and intentionally meaningless stickers. (Fairey, “Manifesto”) Taking advantage of various mediums and the public stage of the streets to showcase much of his work, Fairey exhibits a passion for social justice movements, often offering a criticism of corrupt politics through his imagery even though he does not consider himself an activist. While many would consider his work to be graffiti or vandalism, his work is a unique form of street art, offering the same critical meaning whether it is displayed in the streets or within a confined space. This essay analyzes why Fairey’s artwork falls into the category of street art and how his work demonstrates his solidarity with various social movements, specifically feminism, through a close reading of his piece Obey Female Muslim (2005). Street art’s story begins in New York in the 70s with graffiti as a rebellious form of self-expression and communication for teenagers in both inner city and suburban communities. This art form showed no regard for boundaries or tradition and instead spread internationally
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Alvarez 2 quickly. Whether it was because of how the in-your-face art appealed to people or the fact that it was easily accessible unlike traditional art, graffiti grew to have a significant impact on street culture, fashion, and even music. According to Jeffrey Deitch’s Art in the Streets , however, it took the networking of several existing and reputable New York artists to connect the link between defining the early forms of graffiti as street art and not vandalism. With New York artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Kenny Scharf incorporating graffiti techniques into their paintings on canvas, the “dialogue drew graffiti into the art-world mainstream. . . The downtown art world became the platform for the assimilation of graffiti and its related art forms into the wider culture” (Deitch 10-11). Despite this artform being more than
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  • Spring '14
  • CanBilsel
  • Art History, Feminism, Final, Research Paper, Shepard Fairey, Street Art, OBEY

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