It happened when the artist left a Copenhagen nightclub that was hosting the after party for his newly opened gallery exhibit, Your Ad Here, last weekend. The 41-year-old designer and a friend were reportedly “punched and kneed” by three “left wing anarchists,” leaving him with a “black eye and a bruised rib” (and ego), according to a lengthy statement on his website about the incident that was first reported by the Guardian.
Shepard said one of the young men who instigated the fight was “maybe 19 or 20,” and set things off by yelling, “Obama illuminati, fuck you, go back to America” at him.
When the police showed up, he decided not to even bother filing a report, since he couldn’t really identify them, but also because he didn’t want to sound like a pussy or lose what’s left of his street cred. He writes:
I’m not a huge fan of the cops anyway. The only thing I could see coming out of it was further media commentary like ‘street artist whiner Shepard Fairey can’t hold it down in a fight so he snitches to the cops’.
A few days before this altercation, it was one of his seven murals that took a beating. The locals weren’t feeling his olive-branch themed wall at the site of Jagtvej 69 or “Youth House,” a place historically bustling with left leaning activists before they were evicted and it was torn down by city officials in 2007, and so they threw paint bombs at it and wrote “Go home Yankee hipster.”
Fairey believes the media might be to blame for falsely reporting that the work he was installing at the contentious location was placating propaganda, commissioned by the same city responsible for the demolition of “Youth House.” Then again, he’s the one that painted the words “PEACE” juxtaposed with the number “69” at the spot, which is a direct reference to the former radical stronghold.
He quickly restored it and asked more artists to contribute, adding a new scene at the bottom, but that got blasted as well and Shepard has no plans on fixing it at this point:
All’s well that ends well right! Not so fast… things were peaceful for a few days, but the mural was fire extinguisher bombed last night. Like I said, I tried to work out a positive solution for the wall and I can only control my own actions, not the actions of others. I have always understood that street art is nothing to be precious about. The fate of the mural is out of my hands now, but I’m sad that such a great piece by the RaxArt guys was attacked. It was clearly a piece about social justice and I find the attack senselessly barbaric. It’s not the first time I’ve encountered hostilities, but this is one of the most dramatic, and I’d say demoralizing if I even let that possibility exist.
(Before and after mural photos: Arrested Motion)