Book Review – The Political Set


It’s that time of year again, where we give a few random books the once over… this time around: ‘Covert To Overt: The Under/Overground Art of Shepard Fairey’, ‘Outdoor Gallery: New York City’ and ‘3D & The Art of Massive Attack’

First up, ‘Covert To Overt: The Under/Overground Art of Shepard Fairey’.


With a foreword by political activist for hire Russell Brand, and and introduction from independent curator Pedro Alonzo, this is not without endorsement from some of the worlds most politically active voices. And rightly so. One of the most prolific socially active artists, Shepard’s work is instantly recognisable throughout the world.


This book charts his rise from the ground up through a retrospective of images from the days when spent all his money producing stickers, to his breakthrough as a mainstream artist through exposure from Juxtapoz magazine and the advent of the Internet. This is an amazing visual journey documented by some of the best photographers we know – Jon Furlong, Birdman, Henrik Haven and more all contributed to this book.


Since his inception in the skateboarding scene, creating his “Andre the Giant Has a Posse” sticker campaign in the late ’80s, Shepard has achieved a mainstream recognition that most street artists never find. Fairey’s “Hope” poster, created during Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, is arguably the most iconic American image since the creation of the Uncle Sam war propaganda recruitment poster. Fairey has himself become a pop-culture icon though he has remained true to his street-art roots.


As the great man himself says, ‘A really important concept in my project is the idea of creating something from nothing, that no one is powerless, that without the greatest resources you can still build something, and OBEY Giant is a good metaphor for that.’


You can join team Obey at the House of Vans, working with Lead Distribution/Obey Clothing at the launch on the 2nd November in London: ‘Covert to Overt – The Photography of Obey Giant by Jon Furlong’, an exhibition documenting the endeavours of artist Shepard Fairey and his team, as seen through the eyes of photographer Jon Furlong. Furlong, based in California, has been working and traveling with Fairey for over a decade. Travelling straight from a very successful 3 week exhibition in Shepard’s LA Gallery, a selection of Furlong’s photos will be on view to the public through the London leg of the Covert to Overt show, providing an intimate, behind-the-scenes window into the world of OBEY GIANT.


RSVP here for your free ticket and don’t forget to register for one of the 4 screen-printing workshops on the evening to get your free Obey tee too!

Available to buy here:

Secondly, we come to Yoav Litvin’s ‘Outdoor Gallery: New York City’


For the last two years Litvin has been documenting the incredible renaissance of street art and graffiti in NYC. Outdoor Gallery – New York City. The book conveys a NYC-encompassing story through the narratives of 46 of the most prolific street and graffiti artists active today. Combining intimate interviews with photos, this serves as a window into the world of these creative, progressive, yet elusive artists.

5_Van Brunt St., Red Hook, Brooklyn with Army of One

Documenting the vibrant and diverse outdoor art of New York City, the global epicentre for street art and graffiti. Paying attention to the ephemeral, ever-changing nature of the art-form, Outdoor Gallery is a beautiful preservation of the stories and images from New York.

5_Troutman St., Bushwick, Brooklyn with Billy Mode

Litvin himself is a photographer and writer living in New York City, he also regularly contributes to high profile blogs that cover New York City-based and global street culture.

3_Bedford Ave., Williamsburg, Brooklyn

In light of recent world events, the book’s author made the following comment in addition to his work, ‘I feel these tumultuous times further validate much of the progressive thinking echoed in Outdoor Gallery, specifically the interviews of Enzo and Nio, Army of One (RIP), Nick Walker, Icy and Sot, JillyB, Alice M, LunarNewYear and more…’

2_Welling Court, Astoria, Queens

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Thirdly, and by no means last, we come to ‘3D & The Art of Massive Attack’

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As 3D himself laments, “Musicians that also paint are never taken seriously, painters that make music even less so.”

Featuring a body of work that spans from 1983 to 2015, this is a phenomenal photo journey through the artwork of the colour-blind Massive Attack co-founder. Featuring the transcription of a conversation between the big man Del Naja and FACT magazine’s Sean Bidder, this is a unique insight into the man and his artwork.

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A Bristol institution, 3D helped propel the art scene and music of the band to the forefront of the world stage. Outspoken in his political views and criticism of Western society and the wars and injustices that are endemic of its brand of capitalism, 3D remains a force to be reckoned with, musically and artistically.

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A precursor to other famous artists emanating from Bristol City, 3D was active in the streets from the early Wild Bunch days, spraying stencils inspired by The Clash, before he even really knew what ‘graffiti’ was. As a frontrunner of the graffiti scene, he was also responsible for bringing NYC’s TATS Cru over to paint in the UK. Staying true, aesthetically and ideologically to his punk roots, 3D continues to push the boundaries of creativity with his own artwork and the Massive Attack live shows.


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