Charges against street artist Shepard Fairey are excessive
Culture Action Europe, together with other members of Arts Rights Justice Working Group, signed and supports the street artist Shepard Fairey, whose felony charges announced late last week are a disproportionate response to his alleged crime and could repress artistic expression. You can have a look at this statement here.
While Fairey was in Detroit in May 2015 on a commissioned project to undertake his largest mural to date, he mentioned to the Detroit Free Press that he had plans to “tag” other properties around Detroit with his artwork, for which he was not commissioned. The charges carry a punishment of up to five years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines against him.
It is regrettable that a bastion of democracy, the USA, puts artists and vandals on the same level. Artists are often the first victims of vandalism, from people, organisations or even institutions that consider their art stifling, ugly or unfit to their own values.
We join other colleagues in condemning the disproportionate charges aimed at Shepherd Fairey:
Freemuse, Index on Censorship, the National Coalition against Censorship, the Observatory of Freedom of Creation, PEN American Center, PEN International
ARTSFEX, the first international civil society network actively concerned with the right of artists to freedom of expression as well as with issues relating to human rights and freedoms generally