Shepard Fairey Will Go to Trial in Detroit

Detroit claims it cost $24,000 to clean up after the street artist.

Photo: Rob Widdis via Detroit Free Press
If convicted Fairey faces 5 years in prison and fines in excess of $10,000 Photo:

Shepard Fairey.

Street artist Shepard Fairey is about to have his day in court.

A case against the street artist will go to trial in Detroit after a hearing on Tuesday, according to the Detroit Free Press. While in the Motor City in May to paint some murals that were supported by local authorities and paid for by a local real estate firm, he exceeded his brief and did some illegal paste ups.

“I’ll be doing some stuff on the street when I’m in Detroit,” he had told the paper, and he was reportedly as good as his word. OBEY tags and his trademark Andre the Giant faces popped up around downtown, leading to felony charges of malicious destruction that carry potential sentences of 10 years in prison, according to the Free Press.

Fairey’s words were held against him as a May interview with local television station was shown in court, with him saying “You’ll just have to keep your eyes peeled” when asked about any illicit activities he was planning.

Douglas Baker, an attorney with the prosecution, pointed out that Fairey’s case is being used to send a message.

“One of the things we’re trying to do is communicate to all potential taggers … that we do take this seriously,” he said after the hearing.

Fairey’s lawyer, Bradley Friedman, contends that pasting artworks without permission shouldn’t be counted as a felony but rather as a civil offense.

The street artist has been arrested more than a dozen times for defacing public property. Cleanup costs for his actions in Detroit are estimated at $24,000, according to testimony by a city worker.

He is ordered to appear in Wayne County Circuit court on September 15.

Related stories:

Street Artist Shepard Fairey Unveils Massive Detroit Mural

Shepard Fairey Hit with Felony Charges, Arrest Warrant Issued by Detroit Police

Police Arrest Shepard Fairey in Los Angeles Over Outstanding Detroit Warrant

Shepard Fairey Turns Himself In to Face Felony Charges in Detroit

Shepard Fairey Makes Ai Weiwei Poster to Fund Free Speech Organization

LA Keeps Beloved Mural, Gets a New One from Shepard Fairey

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.