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.
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.
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.
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The attention has helped Fairey sell his clothing line.
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.