Sound & Vision: London

London, UK
October 19, 2012

StolenSpace Gallery Presents

Sound & Vision, Artwork by Shepard Fairey

Opening Reception
October 19, 2012

Exhibition Dates
October 19 – November 12, 2012

About the Show

Sound and Vision takes its name from the David Bowie song and “the gift of sound and vision” that he embodies. Bowie is one of my favorite musicians, and has crafted his music and visual presentation with equal brilliance. Music has long been an inspiration for me as a democratic medium that can bring joy but also deliver provocative and compelling social commentary. Sound and Vision not only captures the profound effect that my favorite music has had on me and my work, but even more broadly it represents the accessible and infectious nature of music as we all experience it.

Music has taught me far more than art has about connecting with an audience. I’ve often thought “I can’t get this song out of my head,” but rarely thought “I can’t get this painting out of my head.” I’ve had some very moving encounters with art in my life, especially in the street, but almost nothing can compare to the first time I heard the boots marching and first chord of the Sex Pistols’ Holidays in the Sun, or the air raid sirens leading into “too black, too strong” on the intro to Public Enemy’s It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, or the opening guitar scream of Black Flag’s Rise Above. Those songs did, and still do, make my arm hairs stand up. Music is visceral, but also has the additional powerful layers of the lyrics, with their content and politics, and the style, politics, and personalities of the musicians themselves.

No matter how much I love art, or try to convince myself of its relevance in society, the fact remains that music is a lot cooler and much more able to reach people’s hearts and minds. There’s something subversive about bundling seductive visuals with provocative ideas, or provocative visuals with seductive ideas. An audience that approaches a work of art or music for the sake of enjoyment doesn’t expect intellectual engagement, and vice versa. An audience that’s looking for escape doesn’t expect a confrontation and a call to action, but I believe the best music, and the best art, delivers both. Call the approach hi-brow/lo-fi or lo-brow/hi-fi, but I try to use it in my work to capture the same energy and spirit that makes music so powerful.

The Sound and Vision art show includes mixed media works on canvas weaving my social commentary with inspiration from a range of musicians, including the Sex Pistols, David Bowie, Roxy Music, Gang of Four, the Clash, the Circle Jerks, Kraftwerk, Public Enemy, Neil Young, and Metallica. Sound and Vision will also include an installation of a record store environment, with customized vintage turntables and a portion of my own record collection for public listening.

The record store space will also showcase over 80 12″x12″ images I’ve created as tributes to the 12″ LP sleeve. A comprehensive variety of other works will be featured, including screen prints on wood, metal, and paper; rubylith cuts; and retired stencils.

– Shepard