Fairey was here - street art in PDX

Yesterday, around Northeast 20th and Sandy, this caught my eye:

Obey the Giant

Fans of the 2010 documentary, Exit through the Gift Shop, will recognize the image as a rendering of Andre the Giant, created by street artist Shepard Fairey. The film, nominated for an Academy Award, takes a close look at the world of street art. It tells the story of Thierry Guetta, a compulsive videographer living in Los Angeles, who finds himself so intrigued by street artists that he begins following them around, collecting hundreds of hours of footage as they create their art. Fairey is of the artists Guetta captures on video. 

Produced by legendary street artist Banksy, the film is mystifying. By the end, you are left wondering if is just a documentary, or if it is something more. Did Banksy, who was accused of selling out (for selling his art), create it just to sell more art? The viewer is left to contemplate that question, and two years later, there is still no definitive answer.

Whether or not you believe street art is a legitimate form of art, there is no question the film is entertaining and forces you to think about the ownership of public spaces. If it were my ad on Sandy that had been painted over and replaced by Fairey’s image, I would be mad. But, since it wasn’t, I can just appreciate the audacity of these artists to challenge us to think differently about the world.