“ART AND POLITICS”: SHEPARD FAIREY (OBAMA “HOPE” POSTER CREATOR) MEETS STUDENTS AT “SANTA FE UNIVERSITY OF ART AND DESIGN”

Launched in 2011 by the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, Artists for Positive Social Change  is a “university-wide series of events, lectures, and performances that highlights one high-profile issue, artist or genre each year.” Inaugurating this five-year initiative, 2011-12 was the year of hip-hop and saw Public Enemy descend on the SFUAD campus for a free concert.  The school hosted a graffiti workshop alongside classes in writing rap lyrics, hip-hop music and breakdancing. The goal was to distill hip-hop as a significant form of communication, as an art form that at its inception “gave voice to voiceless people.” This first year of Artists for Positive Social Change also proved that SFUAD is kinda cool.

Now in its second year, the theme is “Art and Political Activism.” Behold Shepard Fairey, who came to campus last Sunday night (February 17, 2013) for a Q&A with SFUAD’s graphic design department chair, David Grey.  During the week of February 18, Fairey will also designed and painted a permanent outdoor mural on the school campus. This is the artist whose 1990s Andre the Giant sticker went viral before viral meant on the Internet.  It was a different kind of dissemination, one grounded in street art.  He created the sticker while attending the Rhode Island School of Design where his tendencies toward punk, skateboarding and other countercultures were sometimes disparaged by professors.  Fairey admitted that he never thought he’d be taken seriously as a fine artist. If he had, he alleged, it might have paralyzed him.

In 2008, Fairey designed Barack Obama’s Hope Poster, the very icon of Obama’s grassroots energy.  That poster is why Fairey typifies this year’s “art and political activism” theme.  Its impact was immense and although not officially affiliated with the presidential campaign, it alone must have mobilized hundreds of thousands of voters. In Fairey’s words, he is making art for the world he wants to live in.  That alone is inspiration for SFUAD artists.

The Hope Poster’s imagery evolved from yes, an AP photo, but also its subversion of visual culture. In all of his work, the artist pulls from Russian Constructivism, pop art, hip-hop, punk, skateboarding, and artists like Warhol, Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg, and Barbara Kruger.  He raids the cultural image bank and riffs on it, appropriating elements to change the way we see things and ideally even think about things.  ‘Fair use’ copyright battles aside, Fairey asks us to “consume with discretion” and on his website http://www.obeygiant.com/about sites Heidegger’s account of Phenomenology to “enable people to see clearly something that is right before their eyes but obscured.”

If one thing was clear from listening to Fairey talk, it’s that he knows his culture.  From band trivia and blogging to politics and economics, this guy knows what’s up and he probably has an opinion about it.  He quoted Led Zeppelin, wore a black Ramones t-shirt, spoke openly about “selling out,” patience, his process and how it’s changed with time and the Internet, and when prompted, admitted to being arrested 16 times.  The Greer Garson Theatre was packed with students and community members who lined up for a Q&A that could’ve lasted all night.  Luckily, students have the opportunity all week to ask Fairey questions as he painted an indelible public artwork on the SFUAD campus.

http://www.santafeuniversity.edu/News/NewsRoom/Shepard-Fairey-To-Paint-Mural-On-SFUAD-Campus.aspx

http://www.santafeuniversity.edu/About/ArtistsForPositiveChange.aspx

https://www.facebook.com/santafeuniversity

www.youtube.com/user/SantaFeUniversity

http://www.santafeuniversity.edu/RSS/SFURssFeed.aspx

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SWEET P, THE STORY OF THE L.A. GUY WHO DREAMS TO ENTERTAIN THE WORLD…

 IT’s out “Super Bad”, the new album “very carefully produced, composed, written, arranged, engineered, mixed and mastered” by Sweet P The Entertainer. I met him in June 2009 along the Walk of Fame. He was offering his demo cd to tourists… A story from the Dreaming America and from the Dreams that come True.

 

This is a story of a guy who dreamed to have a place in the music world. His name is Sweet P The Entertainer: “and he’s just what his name embodies”, he loves to say of himself.

I met him in june 2009, in Los Angeles, along the Hollywood Walk of Fame. A destiny’s sign? Yes, I think so. As other guys – singers, composers and musicians – he was running after tourists, offering them a demo cd with his music. He kindly stopped me and talked me about his compilation album – 16 tracks – home produced, home recorded and home manufactured. I remember what he said me : “Trust me, I’m the hottest music producer around here. This album home made is a tight blend of hip-hop, r’n’b, pop, rock and latin…All music is produced by me…Trust me”. I trusted my gut, as psychiatrist and Harvard clinician dr. Srini Pillay says about the role of intuition in his “The Brain and Business” book. I bought the compilation for some dollars. That guy thanked me smiling: “I’m the new Michael Jackson!”

It was June 2009 ( I had just left LA and I heard the sad news about the King of Pop’s death…) Back home, I put the compilation on cd player. That guy was right! Good hip-hop music. Nice vocal production. Beautiful rhythms and melodies. Accurate additional programming. A soulful atmosphere colored by a touch of pop and latin too. I contacted him via e-mail and I expressed my compliments.

The official biography – so ironical and disenchanted – tells about him: “ He’s a very well rounded Artist & Musician. He produces & engineers his own music, writes his own songs as well as sings & raps all the vocals. He plays several instruments including acoustic piano and acoustic guitar and is an electrifying performer on stage! Sweet P’s not only a great musician but he’s also an highly accomplished business man as well! He’s established himself as CEO of his own independent record label entitled “Rich Dreams Music” and does all of the promotion, marketing and management work himself on as well as off the internet! Please enjoy all of Sweet P’s videos and look for his new album coming this Summer/Fall…Thanks for your support, Stay Gold! Peace”.

 From then, we kept in touch through web sites (Myspace, Youtube, Facebook). Sweet P has been updating me about the preparation of his album. He worked so much. He suffered so much. But he never gave up. He likes to say about himself: “They didn’t believe in me but I believed in myself!” Bold and tenacious. He really deserves attention and respect, for his faith, for his enthusiasm.

Sweet P was impressed by my “psycho artworks” and we had a sort of video collaboration. In 2010 he sent me an abstract from his “Sweet P Lean” mixtape and I created a clip, ispired by his soundtrack. The result was a video, “(HIP) POP”, showing ten pop-oriented images; it intended to be also a sort of homage to the great pop artist Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997).

 And at last… A few days ago I receive this message: “Hey friends and fans it’s Sweet P The Entertainer! My new album will be soon available… It was very carefully produced, composed, written, arranged, engineered, mixed and mastered by myself and the first single & video is coming soon! In the meantime you can download my 8 song mix-tape for free on the datpiff link below and please feel free to share it with all of your close friends! My single from that mix-tape is entitled “Hey Girl”. You can check it out on my youtube channel as well. So thanks in advance for the support! Stay Gold, Peace. Sweet P The Entertainer”.

Well done, guy! I’m glad for you… Your dreams came true. I wish you all the best success! Yes, touching stories may born along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where people still hope and dream…

 Roberto Alborghetti

 LACER/ACTIONS – HIP (POP), CLIP 2010 (Sweet P Lean Mixtape)

 http://youtu.be/5hp52ET0-AM

 http://animoto.com/play/8QlPf1zadi2UT1WtwoY0Jg

 SWEET P OFFICIAL SITE

http://www.sweetptheentertainer.com/index.html

Sweet P The Entertainer Presents “Hey Girl”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYprOsHd4e8

Download “The Sweet P Lean” Mixtape for Free!

http://www.datpiff.com/Sweet-P-The-Entertainer-The-Sweet-P-Lean-Mixtape.233084.html