White Walls (show)

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Opening Reception Flyer front
Opening Reception Flyer back

White Walls gallery was the location of a Shepard Fairey art show that ran from April 1 to April 29, 2006. The show was notable for both the amount and the quality of pieces on display, including embossed giant stencil prints, prints on wood, canvas, and metal; and HPM's of the Revolutionary Women Print Set and the Floral Pattern Print Set.

Preview article from SFGate:



Shepard Fairey: Perhaps the world's most famous guerrilla artist becomes a dad, matures and decides to be just slightly more blunt about politics at White Walls show

Reyhan Harmanci
Thursday, March 30, 2006

When Shepard Fairey started wheat-pasting and sticking his iconic "Obey" images with the long-deceased Andre the Giant figure across the world almost two decades ago, he stayed away from overtly political statements.

But times change, people change, and, after all, Fairey's a father now. What's wrong with a little peace, love and understanding?

"When I first started, I was in college and I was in an environment where I had a negative reaction to people trying to do stuff that was quasi political... it seemed easy to ignore if you decided, at a glance, it didn't suit your politics," Fairey said from his studios in Southern California.

Going further into his evolution (Fairey is, arguably, the world's most famous street artist), he says that while he always wanted to leave his "message" open-ended, he did have some more explicit responses to current events. "I think it's the Bush regime that's pushed me to go into overtly politically directed stuff. But I'd rather make images that you can't argue with."

Fairey noticed that the rather angry images he made before the last presidential election polarized people, so he found inspiration in what he considers to be a more successful political statement -- "hippies ending the Vietnam War."

"A lot of my work is political but not topical. I'm not doing anything about, say, Dick Cheney shooting his friend. I'm working from rock solid, irrefutable ideas like, it's better to live than to die. Violence is the weakest route."

Fairey, in his career, has watched street art evolve from a truly outlaw, unsupported art form into a commercially viable enterprise. It's confusing, now, figuring out what posters in urban areas are done by artists, and what posters are done by artists to advertise a product. Fairey himself has been on the receiving end of criticism for his work in advertising (remember Sprite's "Obey Your Thirst" campaign?) and he is honest about the ironies of being a rebel artist for hire.

"People want the medium to be the message of free speech and be accessible to people without many resources -- like David has the chance against Goliath," Shepard said. "It's a bummer that these companies are taking that space. But artists and designers need money, right? It's just bad when they give up technical and stylistic secrets."

In his show at San Francisco's White Walls gallery, expect to see some more complicated work from Fairey. "A lot of people know me for posters, but I've been working on more complex mixed-media pieces," he said. "It's still about bold iconic images -- there's just more sophisticated hand-stenciling, collage work. I'm still interested in doing work that empowers, where people can see it and say, 'Hey I can do that,' but as I improve technically, it's about keeping the balance."

Opening reception 7-11 p.m. Sat. Free. Gallery hours: Tue-Sat., noon-7 p.m. White Walls, 835 Larkin St., S.F. (415) 931-1500; www.whitewallssf.com.

Reyhan Harmanci, rharmanci@sfchronicle.com.

A selection of Shepard Fairey pieces from White Walls:

Whitewalls5.jpg Whitewalls7.jpg Whitewalls6.jpg
Whitewalls2.jpg Whitewalls3.jpg Whitewalls4.jpg
Whitewalls14.jpg Whitewalls15.jpg Whitewalls16.jpg
Whitewalls17.jpg Whitewalls18.jpg Whitewalls19.jpg
White Walls Stencil 2.jpg White Walls Stencil 1.jpg White Walls Stencil 3.jpg
White Walls Stencil 4.jpg White Walls Stencil 5.jpg White Walls Stencil 6.jpg
White Walls Stencil 7.jpg White Walls Stencil 8.jpg White Walls Stencil 9.jpg
Whitewalls8.jpg Whitewalls9.jpg Whitewalls10.jpg Whitewalls11.jpg
Whitewalls12.jpg Whitewalls13.jpg Whitewalls21.jpg Whitewalls36.jpg
Whitewalls23.jpg Whitewalls24.jpg Whitewalls25.jpg Whitewalls26.jpg Whitewalls27.jpg

Photos from this gallery show can be viewed here..