Shepard Fairey tags in West Dallas

By Amy Price
A&E Editor

Spray-paint fumes and buzzing neon lights set the backdrop for the Dallas Contemporary Museum’s event, Phenomenon, Feb. 4.
Food trucks lined the adjacent alley for eager contemporary art fans as the museum line wrapped around the building.

The event entry displayed a stack of oil drums tagged with neon art created by Sour Grapes 13, a local group of graffiti artists.

The booming sound system shook the dance floor as Shepard Fairey, world-renowned artist and disc jockey, spun the turntables.

The sold-out dance party was held in honor of Fairey’s 12-mural project that was completed throughout the Dallas area.

Fairey is best known for his 2008 stylized stencil portrait of President Barack Obama on the “Hope” poster and his “Time Magazine” cover design, “Protester,” for the 2011 person of the year.

Before designing the “Hope” poster, Fairey was known as a Los Angeles-based street artist, and was featured in the 2010 documentary “Exit Through the Gift Shop: A Banksy Film.”

Fairey’s signature design features the word: “OBEY,” which originated from his “Andre the Giant” stencil.

According to www.pega susnews.com, Fairey said he decided to come to Dallas on behalf of his friend, Peter Dorchenko, director of the Dallas Contemporary.

In a Pegasus News interview Fairey said, “Seems like there is a growing art scene in Dallas, which is exciting.”

Fairey told Pegasus News he created the murals with the intent that they would reflect peace and harmony and portray a positive message.

Fairey concluded his visit by hosting the neon-themed dance party, Phenomenon. Glow sticks were distributed by the handful, and drinks were poured to the rim.

Becky Bowen, event attendee, described the crowd as ‘80s street chic.

Debbie Pucek, local musician, showed her admiration by revealing her Fairey-inspired tattoo. “I never really thought of Dallas taking to someone like Shepard Fairey, Pucek said. “I think it’s great and surprising.”

A longtime fan, Matthew Sanchez said Fairey is a great DJ and true artist. “He is obviously talented in many forms of art,” Sanchez said.

Some of Fairey’s murals can be seen at Sylvan Avenue and Fort Worth Avenue, Singleton Boulevard and at the Dallas Contemporary.
The murals on Singleton Boulevard between Continental Avenue and Sylvan Avenue have bold red and black backgrounds, along with portraits of a woman, one of which, according to “D Magazine,” is Fairey’s wife.

A slideshow of Fairey’s Dallas visit – including his mural-creating process –was projected onto a wall at Phenomenon.

The slideshow ended with a slide that read “Now quit watching and go shake that money maker.”

Ben Lewis, Phenomenon guest and furniture designer, said Fairey’s art has no limits. “He’s Shepard Fairey – he inspires everybody,” Lewis said.