Shepard Fairey & Antonino D’Ambrosio GRITtv

May Day is observed in most countries outside of the U.S. as International Worker’s Day or Labor Day. The word “mayday” is also a distress signal, a call for help and a call to action. Shepard Fairey, a longtime underground and street artist who came to be a household name with his “Hope” poster of Barack Obama, evoked both of these meanings at once with his “May Day” exhibition at Deitch Projects in New York City.

Fairey’s prints take on an array of political issues and celebrate icons from rock’n’roll, sports, and politics; from Woody Guthrie to Joe Strummer, Muhammad Ali to Aung San Suu Kyi. His friend and frequent collaborator, writer and filmmaker Antonino D’Ambrosio, wrote an essay to accompany the exhibition.

In addition to the gallery show, Shepard hasn’t forgotten his street art roots, painting a mural on the street at Lafayette and Bowery, and several less formal pieces of his have been spotted throughout the city recently.

The exhibit is open through May 29th at the Deitch gallery. We sat down there recently with Shepard and Antonino to talk about art, rock’n’roll, populism, politics, and the common threads that run through all of their work.

Watch the video here.