Brain Floss: Shepard Fairey

Is there any defining moment when you felt your shift from skater/artist to artist/skater?

When I saw the Blind Video Days video I knew I was falling behind the cutting edge of innovative skateboarding. I was also starting to get some traction with my sticker project and some tee shirt designs. I still skated a lot though. I had a mini-ramp in my art studio and I street skated a good bit too.

You’ve managed to really popularize or make art accessible again. From stickers to T-shirts, posters, numbered prints, and decks. Was that the original intent or did it evolve that way?

The things that inspired me were skateboard graphics, punk album covers, T-shirts, stickers—all very unpretentious accessible things. I’ve tried to stick largely to the skateboarding and the punk rock model of promotion and distribution. Though now I have a market for more expensive paintings, which helps me pay for big mural and street art projects. I give a lot of stuff away and do a lot of charity projects, which I think keeps my work “for the people.”

You’ve done so much skateboard artwork. What are some of your favorite past projects?

When my childhood heroes like Natas [Kaupas] or Tommy Guerrero and Jim Thiebaud, have asked me to do boards for their companies, it’s pretty surreal. My tribute to Natas’ Santa Monica Airlines “Black Panther” board is one of my favorites.