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Shepard Fairey Work to Sell at Auction to Benefit the Homeless

Tuesday night, the Coalition for the Homeless holds its 17th annual ArtWalk NY benefit. For many, the highlight of the evening will be the sale of a hand-painted canvas by controversial street artist Shepard Fairey. "Harmony," which is estimated to bring in $40,000, depicts a woman in profile wearing a peace sign necklace and a rose behind her ear.

Fairey, who is known to many by the "HOPE" piece he made in 2008 for the Obama campaign (see picture in the slideshow below), donated works to the Coalition for the Homeless as part of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation's new "Artist as Activist" project, which selects a cause and an artist to donate works to that cause. He is the foundation's first Artist as Activist. In addition to "Harmony," Fairey donated 100 limited edition prints of "The Future Is Unwritten" to the coalition, which are being auctioned online at artnet.

"I made an image that is inspired by Depression-era Art Deco, Art Nouveau-idealized imagery," he told WNYC host Brian Lehrer. "It's a pair of women standing on top of books holding up a flower that's grown out of a piece of barbed wire. And there's a book beneath that says, 'The Future Is Unwritten.' That's a quote from Joe Strummer of The Clash."

Shepard Fairey made 100 limited edition prints of "The Future Is Unwritten."Fifty of the signed limited-edition prints have already sold, according to the foundation. The prints have a starting price of $1,250 and all proceeds will go to the Coalition for the Homeless.

The foundation's executive director Christy Maclear told Lehrer that Fairey was the perfect artist to be chosen. The idea for the project came out of Rauschenberg's own protest art, which included posters supporting causes like racial equality, Free Tibet and AIDS activism.

Fairey said he was honored to be chosen for the award.

"I'm very much trying to use my work to shed light on issues but also to just make powerful art," Fairey said, adding that he had "been a huge fan of Rauschenberg for a lot of years. And a lot of our interests overlap. I really believe that we need to worry about the environment and the fate of the Earth and he did the first Earth Day poster."

Tuesday morning, Fairey gave out stickers he made that depicted Ronald Reagan holding up a sign reading "Corporate Influence for Sale" and an anonymous businessman with a sign reading "Corporate Violence for Sale" (see picture in slideshow below) to Occupy Wall Street protesters.

"I gave out some stickers that I made actually before Occupy started that I think tie into its ideas of corporate influence and corruption," he said, "and, you know, said 'I'm down, I'm with you.'"

Check out a slideshow of Shepard Fairey works below.

Fairey handed out stickers to Occupy Wall Street protesters Tuesday morning with an image of an anonymous businessman holding a sign reading "Corporate Violence for Sale."
Fairey handed out stickers to Occupy Wall Street protesters Tuesday morning with an image of an anonymous businessman holding a sign reading "Corporate Violence for Sale." ( Frazer Harrison )
Here, the artist works on "Harmony."
Here, the artist works on "Harmony." ( Courtesy of OBEY Giant. )
The finished product will be auctioned off Tuesday night.
The finished product will be auctioned off Tuesday night. ( Courtesy of OBEY Giant. )
About 50 limited edition copies of "The Future Is Unwritten" have already been sold online. Benefits go to the Coalition for the Homeless.
About 50 limited edition copies of "The Future Is Unwritten" have already been sold online. Benefits go to the Coalition for the Homeless. ( Courtesy of artnet )
The prints were produced at Robert Rauschenberg's property at Captiva island, Florida where all the print making equipment for the foundation is located.
The prints were produced at Robert Rauschenberg's property at Captiva island, Florida where all the print making equipment for the foundation is located. ( Courtesy of Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. )
This "HOPE" poster Fairey made for the Obama campaign in 2008 became the subject of a copyright infringement lawsuit.
This "HOPE" poster Fairey made for the Obama campaign in 2008 became the subject of a copyright infringement lawsuit. ( Courtesy of OBEY GIANT )
Fairey didn't make this invitation for The Occupation Party, but he did give the organization that riffed off of his protest art his blessing: "I did not complain because I believe in the cause."
Fairey didn't make this invitation for The Occupation Party, but he did give the organization that riffed off of his protest art his blessing: "I did not complain because I believe in the cause." ( Courtesy of The Occupation Party. )
Recognize this? One of Fairey's most recognizable "Obey" works has been stenciled around town.
Recognize this? One of Fairey's most recognizable "Obey" works has been stenciled around town. ( Courtesy of OBEY Giant. )
Fairey's "Obey Megaphone Collage" sold for over $14,000 at a recent online artnet auction.
Fairey's "Obey Megaphone Collage" sold for over $14,000 at a recent online artnet auction. ( Courtesy of artnet. )
Another "Obey" work.
Another "Obey" work. ( Courtesy of OBEY Giant. )
Also in the Deitch Projects show, a portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Also in the Deitch Projects show, a portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat. ( Carolina A. Miranda )
A detail of one of Fairey's portraits of Deborah Harry. The work was on view at the last show ever to be held at Deitch Projects.
A detail of one of Fairey's portraits of Deborah Harry. The work was on view at the last show ever to be held at Deitch Projects. ( Carolina Miranda )
One of Fairey's "Viva La Posse" pieces, which uses Che Guevara as its muse.
One of Fairey's "Viva La Posse" pieces, which uses Che Guevara as its muse. ( Courtesy of OBEY Giant. )
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