We were in Silver Lake, in Los Angeles, stopping by a popular espresso bar for a quick coffee, driving around and around looking for a spot to park when there it was staring at us: A poster by artist Shepard Fairey. A little later, on a recent visit to the Arts District in L.A. to grab a quick lunch, again while driving around the block over and over again seeking an open parking space, there we found another Fairey artwork, its gaze bearing down on us. This past weekend, we drove into the Sawtelle area (a.k.a., “Little Osaka”) of Los Angeles on a mission to pick up some boba teas, and there, yet again, was another of Shepard’s iconic red-black-and-white portraits, a wheat-paste poster on a utility box, staring at us. Shepard Fairey, you’re everywhere. Why can’t we quit you, godammit!
This image of a woman’s face is in an of itself not a remarkable image, and such subject matter and high-contrast portraits are so common to street art so as to scarcely give it further thought.
But this artwork is unusual in its use of materials and aesthetic. Look closely and the viewer will notice that it is neither painting, stencil nor wheat-pasted print. The image as been created by cutting out pieces of the wall’s plaster-like layer to expense sections of brick underneath. Clever.