Renowned artist Shepard Fairey returning to Providence to paint mural

AS220 FOUNDER Umberto
AS220 FOUNDER Umberto "Bert" Crenca, left, stands with artist Shepard Fairey in front of Shepard's "Providence Industrial" mural that he designed to coincide with AS220's 25th anniversary in 2010. COURTESY AS220/LINDA KING

PROVIDENCE – Famed street artist Shepard Fairey is returning to Providence from Oct. 21 to 25 to paint his 100th mural, participate in a lecture at the Rhode Island School of Design and open an art exhibit.

The mural – which will feature Anjel Newmann, AS220 alum and director of AS220 youth – will be painted on the Founder’s League building, 91 Clemence St., in downtown Providence. Fairey, a RISD graduate who gained famed in part by designing the “Hope” poster of Barack Obama during his 2008 presidential campaign, created the “Providence Industrial” mural behind AS220’s Empire Street location in 2010.

AS220 said Fairey has been on a world tour to celebrate his 30-year art career, and he has painted a mural at each stop. He wanted his 100th mural to be painted in Providence, where his career began. Fairey will sell a limited print of the mural for $50 in support of AS220’s $5 million All Access Campaign.

The lecture at RISD, titled “In Conversation with Shepard Fairey: Three Decades of Dissent,” will take place at 7 p.m. on Oct. 21 at the RISD Auditorium. RISD said all seats already have been reserved. There will be a screening a 15-minute documentary about Fairey’s career, followed by a conversation with RISD senior critic Tom Roberts. The public can also watch online.

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Fairey, a RISD graduate who was recently appointed to the school’s board of trustees, first gained notice as a student in 1989 with stickers featuring professional wrestler Andre the Giant that appeared throughout Providence, including over the face of then-former Mayor Vincent “Buddy” Cianci on his campaign billboard.

On Friday, Oct. 25, Fairey will attend a public opening for an exhibit titled “Facing the Giant” from 6 to 9 p.m. at 233 Westminster St. The exhibit will feature 30 pieces of artwork shown as 30-inch by 41-inch fine art prints on collaged backgrounds with additional stenciling and embellishments. The prints will be available for purchase and some of the proceeds will support the All Access Campaign. The show will run until Nov. 16.

According to Fairey’s organization, OBEY Giant, the pieces were “chosen for their importance aesthetically and conceptually, and for addressing critical topics and themes frequently recurring throughout Fairey’s career” including “phenomenology, self-empowerment, rebellion, abuse of power, environmental destruction, racism, gender equality, xenophobia, campaign finance reform, the military industrial complex, propaganda, war and peace, and economic imperialism.”

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