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Art by Shepard Fairey

2009: Empowerment with Shepard Fairey

Taken from the BLAG book 'Art'


“As a kid going to private school and growing up in Charlestown which is really conservative, I was not happy, but I didn’t really know any alternative. In 1984 I started skateboarding, I had no idea about the whole culture behind it, but I enjoyed the activity, it was something that I could do by myself, [with] no need for a teammate and no organised sports aspect to it. It was a just a physical outlet, it was creative and you could do it alone.

“Then I got into skateboarding magazines and punk rock was so embedded in that culture, that it was just a natural thing that I would get into [through that lifestyle]. And there was no internet, you know? I’m in a small town but I started to find pockets of people that were into skateboarding and punk rock. It was a small scene, I would go into the record store and I would ask them to special order the Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedys and Clash records – things they didn’t carry normally. Surprisingly enough, I got fairly current on everything that was going on just by trading tapes with friends. It was the first time I ever felt like I had my own thing going where I wasn’t at the mercy of the status quo and that was so empowering and exciting. 

“I’d always drawn ever since I was a little kid, drawings and paintings and stuff, but it was just something to do that was a technical exercise. It didn’t really have a cultural connection to anything I was excited by and then once I got [into that scene] – the whole stickers, skateboard graphics, stencil and T-shirt making, all that stuff, – then I could apply what I was doing with art to something that I was much more excited about, as sort of a being a signifier of what I was into. That was 1984..."

Continue reading the whole story in the BLAG book 'Art'

Art by Shepard Fairey

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