“Make Art, Not War” Shepard Fairey Paints Town Red

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For the next two days, artist Shepard Fairey and crew are turning a blank wall at Baller Hardware on Tracy and Hyperion into a mural, a (hopefully) permanent piece of statement art reading


Fairey is friends with Baller’s owners and buys supplies there which is how the mural came about. (Baller is awesome, a true Silver Lake treaure, on the east side of Tracy there’s a hardware store and on the west side a super groovy art supply shop). Fairey and a two man crew were applying large printed paper stencils and carefully cutting them out before spraying on white, metallic gold, and black over the bright red wall.  Across the street a French-speaking camera crew watched from a respectful distance, but I got right up under the artists and started snapping away (and this is why I wear lipstick, seriously!).  First question: Is this gonna be graffiti proof (Fairey’s studio in Echo Park has a spray paint resistant coating).

One of the crew answered:

Yes, it will be coated.

Emboldened, I asked Shepard himself how long the project would take. He replied it should take about two days, but because the wall is bumpy, the stencils are catching the wind, making it more challenging.  So then I went for it, asking if an increase in public art could be the end of street art.  By now the camera crew had moved in.

Shepard said that illegal street art–and he’s been arrested sixteen times for his non-sanctioned work–opens the door for artists and projects like the one he’s doing (And he’s right, the door is wide open: MOCA’s Street Art show, street art auctions at major galleries, and ad agencies that use street artists to create and execute murals. Oh and Retna has designed a scarf for Louis Vuitton!).

But adds Fairey, not all illegal street art is good art, and public art can get mired down in bureaucracy over what’s acceptable and politically correct.

(Heck, even Fairey’s pro-art, anti war statement is catching flak in the local Echo Park Patch blog where one commenter wrote:

If Fairey were truly antiwar, though, he wouldn’t have supported someone like Obama, who has been expanding war and civilian-killing drone strikes into multiple lands.

My feelings towards that commenter: Dude, seriously, lighten up or go live in a forest and eat only what falls from trees).

On a side note, Fairey’s technique of using stencils–minus the spray cans–dates back to the Renaissance.  He’ll be there tomorrow finishing it up. Drop by and give it a look!


(Thanks to Jane of Dick& Jane’s Family Orchestra for the tip!)












Last two pictures Marilyn Nix; all others Lisa Derrick



  1. Colin
    February 26, 2013

    The mural looks great and Shep is a good guy. More art! Less complaining!

  2. Parabanger
    February 26, 2013

    There is a lot of bare concrete in silverlake. The reservoir itself is surrounded by a very boring tan colored concrete bank crying out to be graffitied upon. Throw a blanket over the barbedwired fence late some evening. The property is not patrolled except be some coyotes,

    Freeway and street overpasses also offer great opportunities for design work. Those murals on the inside walls are a total waste because it’s dark and cars travel too fast for good viewing. But the outside walls are perfect and in view the whole time the overpass is approached.

    And what about those public stairways!


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