It’s a scavenger hunt of sorts: the local “buzz” is that several community members are spotting Shepard Fairey pieces around Louisville. Fairey — who was in town recently to create a 7-story mural of legendary Louisville boxer Muhammed Ali on the side of the Chestnut Street YMCA — gifted the city with ten additional wheatpaste pieces. The works (typically applied to surfaces using gel/adhesive created from wheat flour or starch and water) have shown up among gallery walls and local establishments. Following the show’s closing reception, the replicas of Fairey’s popular pieces will be “geotagged” and posted online, according to show co-curator and Louisville native Eddie Donaldson, who assembled the exhibit in partnership with Artists for Trauma.
Friday is the last chance to see his pieces in the current exhibit, “Outside Influence,” showcasing 75+ pieces of Fairey’s works at fifteen-TWELVE’s Creative Complex’ Common Gallery. The closing reception will be held during workday hours from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 1512 Portland Avenue. Founded on a love of creative culture, according to the gallery’s site, the 5,000-square-foot venue is used for national and regional performances, original live music, workshops, community-based events and monthly rotating art exhibits in a wide variety of mediums. The facility also includes a coffee shop, two salons, two vintage shops, the works of multiple artists, recording studios and RockerBuilt, a design/build business that creates custom products made of iron, wood, steel, glass, polymer, and other materials.
Another poignant aspect to the gallery show is the addition of pieces created by Ralph Steadman, who is best known for creating illustrations for famous (departed) Kentucky author and “Gonzo” journalist Hunter S. Thompson. Steadman’s works at the gallery recently captured the attention of Rolling Stone magazine. A piece by fifteen-TWELVE co-owner, metal worker, artist and musician Andy Cook, “Living Dead: Freddie Mercury,” is also on display in the show. More works from his series and other pieces will be shown in a June exhibit.
Before taking in the show, check out Fairey’s work depicting a piece from his “Andre the Giant Has a Posse” series, on the venue’s wall. Across the street, you will discover depictions of Fairey’s “Make Art Not War” posters along the side of Louisville Visual Art (LVA) which is across the street from Fifteen-TWELVE. The pieces are among the ten Fairey left behind in the city.