‘Visual Disobedience’ – a Q&A with Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey’s most recent career survey, ‘Visual Disobedience’, is currently on show in Hong Kong thanks to the HOCA Foundation. Our man in Australia, Damo, went to Hong Kong to check out the show and had a one on one with the man himself.

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Shepard Fairey “Peace Dove (Red)” 2012. Mixed Media (Stencil, Silkscreen, and Collage) on Canvas. Copyright Shepard Fairey / OBEY GIANT ART. Courtesy of HOCA Foundation. 

Damo: This is your first career survey being held in Hong Kong. Why Hong Kong and can you explain the concept of the show a little bit?

Shepard: It’s my first career survey in Hong Kong; this will be my 5th museum show. The reason this is happening here in Hong Kong is because the people behind the HOCA Foundation are fans of my work and have collected my work. They asked me over a year ago if I would be willing to put together a career survey and come over here and do some mural projects because they understood that outdoor art is really is important to me. We discussed my schedule and what art I would need to borrow from collectors versus what they had and things that I would have to provide for my own archive. There are 290 pieces of work in the show. So it’s a lot of work.

What’s exciting to me is I think Hong Kong is a really fascinating place in that it’s this hybrid of Asian and Western cultures, and this is my third trip here. I was here in 2000 and did a lot of street art here and worked with some guys who had a gallery and a magazine and did some streetwear. I was back in 2006 for some more street art and clothing projects. This trip I’m getting to do clothing projects, public artworks that are more permanent, this museum show and my usual street art. So in a way this is I think is the trip that embodies every aspect of my practice and philosophy. So that’s why I’m excited about here.

I think it’s important for people to understand both the evolution and the consistency of my work. A big concept of my work is repetition of certain motifs so there is accumulative effect but also that I address things that are happening in the world; current events and my style evolves. So what I like with this show is that you can see from the very beginning to the present through the different pieces that are here. That is a real privilege to get to share with an audience because most people experience my work in a very fragmented way.

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Installation View, Visual Disobedience at the Pulse, Hong Kong. Presented by HOCA Foundation. Copyright Shepard Fairey / OBEY GIANT ART. Courtesy of HOCA Foundation. 

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