Brain Floss: Shepard Fairey

Your commercial level, approach, and style have been compared to Warhol. Is this shortsighted?

Warhol did great things as an artist by making art accessible to the masses and making pop(ular) subject matter fair play in the art world. He was ahead of the curve doing music-related projects and starting a magazine. I think I use a lot of the same approaches as Warhol, but by doing street art I’ve also bypassed a lot of the rules Warhol had to bend or re-define. Street art is accessible in placement and free for the masses.

Were you writing and doodling on your griptape in the late ’80s just like Gonz and Natas?
Funny, but I didn’t draw on my griptape because I thought it would make it less grippy. I did try out clear griptape so I could make a sicker collage underneath. I also made stencils for board bottoms and tee shirts a lot.

Do you remember spending time on placing and collecting stickers?

Of course. I was broke though, so instead of buying a lot of stickers, I’d buy my favorites and Xerox them on to sticker paper. I loved it when logos were clear black and white in a skate mag, so I could use that to make xeroxed stickers. My parents were pissed that I covered the station wagon in stickers.

Shepard Fairey boardslide circa 1989.