250_baxter_shepard%20lede.jpgHate to say we told you so, but Shepard Fairey has just released an official statement owning up to the cease and desist notice that was sent to OBEY takedown artist Baxter Orr concerning this design. According to Shepard, Baxter has been involved in some “shady dealings” and reselling schemes of OBEY art on eBay. What that has to do with parody, Shepard only knows, but it seems awfully contradictory for an artist who’s made a name for himself by copying others to rail against another one that does the same. Read the full statement after the jump.

To all concerned:
Baxter Orr was sent a cease and desist letter by Obey Giant in regards to his use of the Obey “Icon Face” graphic. This graphic is a registered trademark and I selectively enforce this trademark based on the nature of the infringement. Frequently I do not respond negatively to parodies of Obey because I feel the artist doing the parody is philosophically aligned with Obey and parody is a valid part of pop culture dialog. I use parody and tribute often in my own work, so I obviously believe there is value to both. I have also had to deal with legal entanglements over the use of appropriated imagery and its interpretation as parody or infringement. Parody Vs. infringement is obviously an issue with many subtleties and grey areas. Referencing existing imagery is a risk every pop artist takes from Warhol to Koons to myself to Mr. Orr. Most of my pop art, fortunately, has been positively received by those being referenced, and many subjects have even commissioned authorized collaborations after seeing my tribute. Orr’s infringement is being pursued more because of his all around exploitative tendencies and foul nature rather than the seriousness of this specific infringement. I’m generally very tolerant of this sort of thing, but this is the straw that broke the camel’s back. Orr has been repeatedly revealed for selling Obey Giant prints on ebay which I have a policy against. I sell my prints under market value to insure that true fans of my work can acquire a print at a reasonable price. Orr has used pseudonyms and other shady tactics to get prints and sell them on ebay. Orr has been kicked off of an Obey Giant fan site for shady dealings. He has also made enemies with an Obey secondary market dealer for being untrustworthy. Orr is the type of bottom feeder who is often able to thrive because no one wants to take the time to deal with him. As you can see, he has tried to turn this present issue into publicity for himself. The resources it may require for me to pursue him will be much greater than any lost revenue from his print. I’m pursuing this out of principal. I have principals and Orr does not. A gross over-simplification of the situation could lead a lazy person to think that I’m a hypocrite for pursuing Orr because, in basic terms, we both use reinterpreted appropriated imagery. The key difference is in our motivations and my willingness to take responsibility for the things I do.
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Shepard Fairey
Founder & Creative
Studio Number One
Obey Giant Art Inc
1331 West Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
213-213-0077 fax
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