Tag Archives: shepard fairey

Obey in Oakland.

obey giant, sheppard fairy, downtown oakland obey giant, 14th street obey giant

So above is one of the first photos I snapped after putting my blog on hold. I took it in August. I was on my way to a work meeting and was running late, so I just snapped this one first pic, which was unfortunate because by the time I went back to take a few more shots (a couple weeks later, see below) the large wheatpaste installation by Shepard Fairey had already been tagged.

sheppard fairey installation oakland, downtown oakland obey giant

sheppard fairy installation, wheat paste obey giant

wheatpaste mural 15th street, obey giant mural oakland

Ultimately, some local folks involved in a street beautification project painted over the damaged lower portions and it now looks like this… I shot this last one on the day of the initial raid of the Occupy Oakland  encampment.  Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling the Oaktown love that day…

love oakland, modified obey giant mural, downtown oakland street beautification

Art in Commerce.

I was downtown last night for dinner and a drink with a girlfriend… specifically we were in the Oaksterdam area of 16th and Franklin, meeting at The Layover,  and I guess I haven’t been down there for a little while but it just seemed that everywhere I looked, there was something I wanted to document or photograph or check out further… tons of flyers, posters, stickers, wheatpastes… it was kind of overwhelming because, frankly, I was late…  and thirsty.

So I didn’t really to take the time to slowly explore like I might under different circumstances, but these two large what-appeared-to-be-wheatpastes were so striking they made me stop and take a quick snap.

art in commerce, wheatpaste advertisements, oaksterdam

Upon closer inspection, they both turned out to be ads.  Which kinda disappointed me.  But then again, there are some amazing creatives working in advertising, so I didn’t feel too bad for being duped.

I’m the person who typically mutes commercials, because, for the most part, they strike me as manipulative and banal.  But some… some are truly inspired. For example, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched this damn hamster car commercial!  It’s hilarious.  Brilliant. And interestingly enough, shot in Hamsterdam.

Anyway, the first poster is for an upcoming Dreamworks movie (Megamind), which actually looks pretty entertaining (Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, and Brad Pitt). It’s what the original artist, Shepard Fairey, would call a “bootleg.”   You can see more here.

The second is for a Nintendo game, which I can’t say much about because I don’t play video games.  But I went to the website to check it out, and the one thing I’ll say is, it does have a cool soundtrack… kind of like that to a Jean-Pierre Jeunet movie.

Meaty Wheaties

I know, I know… I’ve featured this spot before (Time’ll Tell)… and it’s not even in Oakland proper.

But I passed it the other day on my way to watch the World Cup Final and was amazed at how this little corner drive-thru (previously a Wolf Camera) has become a full-blown collaborative public art space…

ashby & telegraph, east bay wheat pastes

The tie-dyed bison’s been up for awhile… yet another giant wheat paste by Jesse Hazelip. I really love his stuff… the sheer scale of them… the precision of his drawings… and complexity of issues that he’s tackling. Cool stuff.

jesse hazelip, bison wheatpaste, buffalo wheatpaste

A slew of other artists have chipped in and added to the public canvas…

east bay wheat pastes

Oil drips from this seagull and small words read “Get Up”…

seagull wheatpaste, BP oil crisis artwork

These below seem to be by the same artist… the small boom box reads “Get Up” as well, and though these are true wheatpastes – large paper cut-outs transferred onto the building with temporary glue – the original pieces seem to be spray paint stenciled… some in multiple colors.

A small stencil’s been added below the wheat paste on the right. Was this the same artist, or someone different, just adding his/her flavor to the mix?

get up wheat pastes, ashby telegraph abandoned building

These masked “suits” remind me a little bit of the first mural I ever featured (Suits & Soldiers), also a stenciled work in which businessmen in suits are portrayed in sync with miliary soldiers. Here, suited men are disguised as guerillas with masks…

ashby & telegraph, wheat pastes, stencil wheatpastes

And below are details from a repeating series of black & white images that remind me of the Shepard Fairey installation I saw in Amsterdam last fall (OBEY in Amsterdam).  They both feature extremely limited color palettes (Fairey’s actually includes a third color – red), and detailed graphic patterning reminiscent of wallpaper, juxtaposed with larger organic imagery… faces, hands, etc.

buddha and hand

OBEY in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam may not be the birthplace of the Renaissance (that honor is most commonly attributed to Florence, Italy), but the centuries old city certainly experienced a revitalization of epic proportions during the 17th century, considered it’s “Golden Age.” The city was known as a center for Europe’s free press, and also a bastion of religious tolerance. And as Europe’s most important shipping center, it became the wealthiest city in the world (as well as its financial center). In the early part of this century, when immigration was at its peak, the city developed its current canal system of 4 concentric half-circles, which remains essentially intact, hundreds of years later.

Subsequent centuries saw declines in Amsterdam, both in wealth and population (not unlike the plight of Oakland, albeit much later in the 20th century, post WWII).

When we emerged from the Amsterdam Central train station near our short-term apartment, this is what the station looked like…


And a huge Shepard Fairey installation was set up on some temporary construction walls right outside…

I’m in heaven!!!