Street artist Shepard Fairey to turn himself into Detroit police today

A Fairey mural mocking consumerism and power was posted on a vacant building on Gratiot. By Steve Neavling/MCM
A Fairey mural mocking consumerism and power was posted on a vacant building on Gratiot. By Steve Neavling/MCM

Mayor Mike Duggan’s war on graffiti is about to get an international stage – and maybe not the one he’s anticipating.

World-renowned street artist and shrewd self-promoter Shepard Fairey arrived in Detroit to turn himself in today after police issued a felony warrant for his arrest last month on allegations that he posted his iconic images on dilapidated, abandoned buildings.

15 images of Shepard Fairey murals posted in Detroit. 

The case against Fairey, who is widely known for the memorable “Hope” image of Obama, hinges on eight posters that were pasted to the sides of eight blighted buildings while he was in Detroit painting with permission on downtown properties owned by billionaire Dan Gilbert.

Obey mural on the Imagination Station next to the Michigan Central Station.
Obey mural on the Imagination Station next to the Michigan Central Station.

Although the images are undoubtedly Fairey’s, proving that he was the one who posted them could be a challenge. And that task will belong to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, which is already struggling to keep pace with the murder, rape and burglary cases.

Fairey, who has been arrested 17 times, flew in from Los Angeles to turn himself in today.

The attention has helped Fairey sell his clothing line. 

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • Long

    I see a lot of artists but as well not really get it. boc ghe sofasofa giá rẻsofa giường

  • AE interior

    Although the images are undoubtedly Fairey’s, proving that he was the one who posted them could be a challenge thiet ke noi that cao capnoi that biet thunoi that chung cu

  • Joeysback

    What a ridiculous waste of time and resources. If anything, the “tagging” beautifies these monstrosities.
    As for arson being a similar crime: No, it is NOT. Arson endangers lives, that of the arsonists, the DFD employees, anyone living nearby, etc.
    Spend the money you are paying to prosecute this artist on finding the killers of the young people falling left and right on our streets, the thieves and carjackers, and the arsonist who is burning down our own great artist, Guyton!

  • Mike C

    Hopefully Detroit prosecutes him to the fullest extent of the law.

  • While I don’t harbor any ill will towards graffiti artists, I just don’t think you can justify not prosecuting Fairey and others who’ve defaced buildings in the city.

    Yes, those buildings are often abandoned. But that alone isn’t enough justification to let it go. If the city allows people to paint on buildings, how could the city then justify pursuing arsonists who burn abandon buildings. Yes, arson is the greater crime. But an arsonist might use the same justification.

    Detroit has a long way to go in successfully enforcing the law, as this article points out. But that alone isn’t enough reason to let Fairey slide, especially because Fairey is a better known figure.

  • kathy

    Graffiti artists mostly tags vacant commercial buildings in Detroit. They seldom spread the Graffiti in Birmingham, West Bloomfield and other neighboring suburbs. Its interesting that only Detroit needs additional blight to its commercial buildings in which depreciates the businesses and homes property values nearby. Hopefully, the Detroit police can assigned more monies to a task force that captures these artists and gang members. Its simply vandalism.

  • I feel many of these artists should be hired to do more of it.

    • Mike C

      Hiring them is fine if it is done on your property.

  • shavers313

    “And that task will belong to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, which is already struggling to keep pace with the murder, rape and burglary cases.”

    Hahahaha this should be entertaining. I wouldn’t be a surprise if they just do a small plead deal just to remove it from there desk. LOL smh