I was first encouraged by my friend, artist, and co-worker, Gerardo Yepiz, to make a Zapata print back in 1999. Gerardo grew up in Ensenada, Mexico, before moving to San Diego, and he educated me a bit about Emiliano Zapata. I was very inspired by Zapata’s revolutionary efforts to implement land reform and improve the economic prospects for peasant farmers in Mexico, plus, Zapata had a bad-ass look! In 2006 when I began working with Ernesto Yerena, he mentioned that my Zapata poster was one of his favorites, but unfortunately, I didn’t have any left that I could give to him. I have worked with and collaborated with Ernesto for many years and it has been amazing to see him develop and flourish as an artist and activist. Ernesto is a technical perfectionist, so when he proposed producing a small hand-stenciled edition of the Zapata image through his Hecho Con Ganas studio, I knew it could be really cool and special. Ernesto also suggested that we could benefit CIELO, a local organization that is assisting undocumented indigenous families affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. I thought that was a great idea. The Zapata pieces are all slightly different stencil paintings. There is NO SCREEN-PRINTING, just spray paint on rag art paper. Check out some of the detail shots! Thank you Ernesto and your crew for doing such a great job on these art pieces!
Zapata 2020 HPM. 20 x 26 inches. Hand Painted Multiple (HPM) on paper published by hechoconganas.com. Signed by Shepard Fairey. Two separate editions of 15: Red and Teal. $2700 each. A portion of proceeds will go to Cielo. Available on Thursday, August 27th @ 10 AM PDT at store.obeygiant.com AND hechoconganas.bigcartel.com. Max order: 1 per customer/household. International customers are responsible for import fees due upon delivery. Orders may be delayed due to COVID19. ALL SALES FINAL.
I’ve been a fan of Shepard’s for a very long time. I first remember seeing his posters in the late ’90s in my hometown of El Centro. There were a couple of wheat pastes that I spotted during a random trip to the Imperial Valley with a friend. When I first saw them, I remember thinking to myself, “What are these?” “Why are they up?” I definitely knew who Andre the Giant was because I was a wrestling fan, but I figured that there was more to it than wrestling fan art. Those posters stayed up for years and every time we drove by the one on La Brucherie Rd., my curiosity would re-ignite. A couple of years later, I was hanging out with my cousin Pete in San Diego, he was a student at SDSU at the time, and it was his second year in a fraternity. I remember asking him if he made his pledges to do anything crazy, and his response was, “No I only make them wear Obey shirts, they are made by this local artist, Shepard Fairey, and I think it’s funny to make them wear these since they are supposed to obey me.” Then it hit me that this was the artist behind the posters that I had seen pasted up back home. Since that moment, I started nerding out on Shep’s work and I eventually moved to San Diego to go to Design / Art School. During my first semester, Shep had a solo show at Voice 1156 and he had installed a whole wall of about 100 of his screen prints posted side by side. At the art show, I flipped through an Obey Giant book that Space Invader had published, and for the first time, I saw his poster of Emiliano Zapata. I remember it blowing my mind. This was two of my worlds colliding, one: the underground urban art scene, and two: my politics as a young brown kid from the US / Mexico border. Since then, this print has been my Holy Grail Shep print. Every Shepard print collector has that one print they’ve always wanted, and for one reason or another, it doesn’t happen. Shepard originally released “Giant Zapata” in 1999, they were from an edition of 100, he screen printed them himself and he sold them for about $25 bucks each. They have been sold out for about 20 years now and when they do pop up on eBay, they are always well over a thousand bucks. So I pretty much gave up on trying to score an original one, and I approached Shep about having me and the Hecho Con Ganas crew produce and publish two HPM editions of these, and he said YES! This is definitely one of the most important and exciting projects of my art career so far. I feel like I have come full circle from being a huge fan of Shep’s work to being able to produce an edition of his work in my studio here in Boyle Heights. This project is an ode to our good friend Richard Duardo from Modern Multiples, who taught me how to print and how to push the lines as far as creating art multiples. All of these HPMs (Hand Painted Multiples) were created with hand spray-painted stencils painted by myself. All of these are unique. We created two colorways, one is the original Red colorway, and then the new Teal colorway. We will also be donating some of the proceeds to CIELO, a local organization that is assisting undocumented indigenous families who are being affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. I want to give a huge shoutout to my assistants Melissa Govea & Nate Contreras for the help on this project. Thank you to Shep and the whole Obey Giant crew for helping this dream of mine come true. Lastly, I want to give a huge thank you to my business partner Matt who on the last day of producing this, showed up with his copy of the original “Giant Zapata” screenprint from 1999 and gifted it to me! Thank you all for the support. -E