Shepard Fairey’s Bad Week: Copyright Infringement and Arrested in Boston


It wasn’t a great time to be Shepard Fairey last week. First he was accused by the Associated Press for copyright infringement, saying his now-iconic Barack Obama painting was blatantly copied from a photograph taken by Mannie Garcia, who works for the A.P. Now it’s a battle in court for an artist whose career is built on borrowing and re-purposing, yet doesn’t always like when people do it to him (see: Exhibit A (which is particularly ironic) and Exhibit B). Then later this week, Fairey was arrested on Friday night on two prior warrants for tagging local buildings in Boston, where he was visiting and was on his way to a party for his new “Supply and Demand” exhibition. Here’s a bit:

Fairey, a commercial artist and graphic designer, is to be arraigned Monday, said Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk County district attorney.

The art institute told the Associated Press that Fairey was released a few hours after his arrest.

The AP also received an e-mail from Fairey’s attorney Jeffrey Wiesner. “Shepard Fairey was completely unaware that there were any warrants for his arrest. Had he known, he would have resolved all such issues before the opening of his art exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston,” Wiesner said.