Shepard Fairey TIME Cover

December 15, 2011

I’m happy with this Time cover mostly because I’m proud to help acknowledge and amplify the influence of protest movements this year, especially Occupy Wall Street. Exposure leads to dialogue, and I’m glad that the issues Occupy is concerned with are finally being discussed.
With the cover image I wanted to capture the dedication and spirit of defiance that any protester must possess in the face of arrest or worse.

Time provided me with images to sift through and I illustrated from a photograph that I thought would be a good reference for an iconic and compelling protester. In my art I try to emphasize the most powerful essence of an image and eliminate anything superfluous. In this case I felt there was a powerful contrast between the intensity of her eyes and her unthreatening yellow knit beanie. I wanted the protester to come across as serious, but not scary. Most of the protesters I’ve met are normal, idealistic, young adults, so I thought the “person next door” feel was important.¬† Ironically, I found out that the subject of the photo I illustrated from is an LA resident and employee of the Robert Berman gallery who I have worked with. I hope to meet or speak to her at some point.

This Time issue is a documentation of an irrefutable¬† phenomenon, not an incitement to protest(I wish I had that degree of influence over Time’s agenda) even though I do encourage people to stand up for their beliefs and protest if necessary . Regardless, if this Time cover encourages others to stand up for their ideals, I think it is a victory.
-Shepard