Warrant Issued for Shepard Fairey’s Arrest in Detroit

Shepard Fairey's signature Obey Giant. COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON

Shepard Fairey’s signature Obey Giant poster.


The Detroit Free Press reports that a warrant has been issued for the arrest of street artist Shepard Fairey, whose work has mysteriously appeared, without authorization, at 14 locations around Detroit. The Detroit police have accused Fairey of $9,000 worth of damage.

In May, Detroit businessman Dan Gilbert commissioned Fairey to make an work for Campus Martius, a park in the city’s downtown. The 18-story mural Fairey produced for Campus Martius is the artist’s largest work to date. But when eight people this month complained that Fairey had tagged their buildings, the Detroit police took action.

The warrant for Fairey’s arrest was filed on June 19. Unless Fairey turns himself in, he will be arrested on two counts of malicious destruction of property, the maximum penalty for which is more than $10,000 in fines and five years in jail.

The Detroit debacle is not the only time Fairey has found himself in a tough legal situation. In 2009, Fairey was in hot water after it was revealed that his famed Hope poster, which he made for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, was based on an Associated Press photo. (That year, following an arrest in Boston that was suspiciously timed around his Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston survey, Fairey told The Boston Globe that he had been arrested 14 times before that.) Fairey settled out of court with the photographer in 2011. Then, in 2012, after pleading guilty to having destroyed legal documents during the 2009 lawsuit, Fairey did 300 hours of community service, paid $25,000 in fines, and was on probation for two years. Fairey is building quite the criminal record for himself!

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