Shepard Fairey, the 38-year-old street artist who has garnered mainstream attention recently thanks to the â€œProgressâ€ and â€œHopeâ€ posters he designed for Barack Obamaâ€™s campaign, is rapidly losing his vision due to a lifelong battle with diabetes. According to one source close to Fairey, he could be legally blind by the end of the year.
“That’s why he’s having so many gallery shows and making so many prints,” the source, who requested anonymity, said. â€œThe Faireys are trying to pump out as much artwork as they can before he can’t see anymore — time is running out.â€
Before his Obama work, Fairey was best known for littering countless urban landscapes with his ‘Andre the Giant Has A Posse’ wheatpastings and and has been compared to a modern-day Andy Warhol by many in the contemporary art world.
Fairey has never attempted to hide his condition and has mentioned it in several interviews and even spun records at nightclubs under the name â€œDJ Diabetic”â€”he’s spinning at the Guggenheim tonight.
ANIMAL asked Jonathan Levine, Shepard’s NY rep, if the price of his work could potentially fetch more when news like this gets out. “I don’t know enough about it. I think it’s possible. Even if he’s legally blind, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s fully blind, so he still might be able to make work,” said Levine who refused to confirm or deny Shepard’s condition. So those owners of Fairey originals or prints might have an even more valuable piece than they did before. Your choice: sell them off now or keep your investment safe.
UPDATE: Shepard responds.