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February 8, 2009



Thanks so much for your work here and at art-for-a-change. I mentioned the Fairey thing on my own blog, from a design perspective (in a way which was, frankly, kind of shallow). But I was blown away by your guys's research and political thought. Again, thanks for posting.

Anonymous LMG


The Phantom Street Artist explains that Shephard Fairey “does not represent the voice of the populace but he is the voice of the Elitist Media disguised” and that “he is nothing other then a consumer being consumed buying media time buying publicity buying legal representation to justify his infringed violations buying everything to present himself as a legit street artist.”

The Phantom Street Artist goes on to explain, that Modern mass media, Network, museums and galleries are often historically used by hegemonic institutions to seduce public and popular opinion. Shephard Fairey’s recent Retrospective at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston on February 6th 2009 is an example of a conjured 20 year retrospective. The ICA was once a reputable Museum which has chosen to support over a decade of Fairey's unapologetic infringed actions.

The Phantom Street Artist was quoted in review of my performance as a cultural critique whether it be a staged act or a fight in the cage interest is interested in initiating a debate which critically goes beyond the valuation of a given work of art, forcing one to question, modify, develop, refine one's own independent value system.

“It is a sign of the degeneration of our society and culture which is being conformed by mediocrity by the likes of Shephard Fairey and OBEY as well as his publication SWINDLE as the true life metaphor to inveigle beliefs systems and values all in the interest of mammon.”

“The Phantom Street Artist” aka “Joey Krebs” aka “Caine 2,” etc. whose own claims to fame include cover art for the infamous punk-rock-rap-blend group, Rage Against the Machine’s of their platinum award winning album, “Battle of Los Angeles.”

The multi-masked Phantom creatively directed Rage against the Machine in several music videos, including the MTV award-winning "Bulls on Parade", and "Renegades of Funk," which is
currently receiving heavy airplay. The MTV videos feature Phantom’s signature artwork, the
silhouette or Shadow, which serves as the archetype for the Public Everyman.

Phantom is also a daring performance artist whose drawn huge crowds at events like the Academy Awards, where he cast himself in personae in realizing his own scripts for a spoof on culture titled Mr. Big Money wedded to Miss Cult-cha-cha.

The addressed theme was a Hollywood Marriage, which wed Mr. BIG MONEY to Commerce a.k.a. the Film Ms. Culture as appropriate motifs. The event was theatrically acted out and staged to express a critical commentary of the Academy’s Major Self Congratulatory Multimillion dollar Event. The Bride and Groom's Announcement was a metaphorical matrimony of Radical Protest politics wed to activism.

The Union expressed Guerrilla Satire with critical irony: where else but at the Oscars can B.I.G. Money with Commerce and Cult-CHA (Film) be bedded. The Phantom Street Artist says “Come celebrate the anniversary of The Phantom Street Artist because don’t we all want to be fucked by BIG Money? “
And, “a thinly veiled scene where my intent is to comment on the marriage of the culture of greed.”

On inauguration night Jan 19th 2009 the Phantom Street Artist created a titled piece called THE IN$ULTING PRICE is RIGHT, a Street Alley Target Installation for BUSHBASHLA.
The Phantom Street Artist created a street alley target range as an installation where individuals purchased 2 shoes for a fee dipped in red paint.
For a small fee a throw, visitors were given the opportunity for two chances to hurl and insult the Bush Machine.

Our proposed concept was a "statement of solidarity" with the Iraq Journalist Muntadar al-Zeidi.The Iraqi journalist is the individual who was arrested after hurling two shoes at Bush in protest during a Baghdad news conference earlier this year.
THE IN$ULTING PRICE is RIGHT is a game as well as a metaphor imposed as a guideline which serves to critique the outgoing political administration.

At the moment, The Phantom development of a creative project that rages against what both he and his subject matter, Shepherd Fairey says Fairey’s Obey Giant ‘artwork’ represents: “the power of propaganda” or in actual application, brand imaging through repetition.
In defending his work as art that makes social commentary, Fairey has repeatedly said, “the medium is the message.”

“Shepherd Fairey has become the poster boy for Big Brother,” says Phantom.
“Fairey’s own comments on his work which is nothing other then décor, ambiguous and nihilist, OBEY has no responsible message other then to brand self promotion in the self interest of commerce.”

To bring attention to his point, the Phantom is challenging Fairey to a cage fight.

“What Shepherd Fairey is doing is the epitome of rape,” Phantom says “Fairey’s is a cultural scavenger ravaging important historical and revolutionary cultures, ideas, concepts and visions for only profit alone.” On the contrary, Fairey claims his right to use cultural iconography and appropriate copyright work without reference is protected under “fair use.”

In the age of Socrates those who were social outsiders employed “irony or what would be considered modern fair use. The oppressed have historically carried an arcane language to subvert” Fair Use was originally adopted which allowed for social commentary, critique or satire on work previously well known as a reference.

“There’s fair use and then there’s ‘Fairey Use™,’” says Phantom who has trademarked the term in Fairey mockery. “Fairey is so full of hubris he’s taken OWNERSHIP of icons in the public domain and threatened to sue artists, like Baxter Orr, who dare to parody the same icons Fairey has foolishly misappropriated.”

The Phantom Street Artist says “Fair use is vital to safeguarding the importance of our historical culture” Fair Use is limited for a reason. If visual artist or merchandiser like Shephard Fairey aka OBEYS can cite Fair use only in the interest of protecting their corporate interest of profit, we have lost the value of “fair use”. He adds “Fair Use protect the legacy of important revolutionary cultures and history. This cage fight takes a stand for that difference of respecting the integrity of those historic cultures.”

Phantom, not his real surname, who is the off-spring of first generation immigrants from Ecuador, also finds it offensive that Fairey labels significant art belonging to Latino cultural history such as the work of Rene’ Mederos, “propaganda.”

Fairey, however, arguable alters public domain and copy right works--which he HAS referred to in interviews as “MY icons” and “propaganda”---to a degree, over 10% subjectively, a factor that may make them fair game for fair use or already immune to copyright infringement accusations.
But Phantom views such alterations as all the more demeaning to the integrity of the borrowed works and the voice of the disenfranchised cultures from which many have emerged.

“He’s making a novelty out of, degrading our historical cultural imagery. Satire, irony and political commentary are the tools of the oppressed,” explains Phantom. “We cannot allow vacuity, emptiness, meaninglessness, novelty, mere branding for the sake of making Shepherd filthy rich. “Fair Use protects language and true social commentary without suffocating independent voices.”
And, “If Shephard Fairey case wins in a court of law we will lose fair Use to the RICH!!!”

We are seeing the structures of society collapse around us because of the lack of reference and the true understanding of our foundations that Fairey and his publicity machine propagate.
What he’s doing is part of what’s tearing at, breaking down the structures of humanity! It is GREED revealed?”

The Phantom, Joey Krebs authored a fictitious Book titled “SOME-1 EL$E'S AMERIKKKA”, which was followed by a successful situationlist advertisement campaign placed in City Beat Magazine... The book was a self portrait which detailed the many hundred year history of cultural displacement in Amerika .

Many of his previous performance received excellent reviews from Black Book Magazine, and other subversive media including a wonderfully written critique from our own Craig Stevens who contributes to Citizen LA. The performance referenced in a review of Black Book Magazine which featured Krebs transgress performance in their Fall 2005 issue.

The Phantom Street Artist cast himself as a simulacrum Andy Warhol counting a briefcase full of play money at the Warhol Retrospective held at MOCA Los Angeles. Black book Magazine followed with a feature which addressed Artists like Krebs who explore the relationship between the personality cult and art stars like Jean Michel Basquiat, Julian Schnabel, Francesco Clemente, with Actors and Directors like Benecio Del Toro, Sofia Coppola, Vigo Mortensen, Spike Jonze and Musician Beck. The Phantom Street Artist motto is “the world is his stage or canvas for social commentary and self realized scripts.”

There’s also a stunning book cover graphic, a half-naked child with the caption: “Father, forgive those who have sinned against us...” Krebs aka The Phantom Street Artist worked with SNAP (Society Network Abused by Priest ) who collectively authored and created a series of photo projections on the LA Cathedral in defense of those victimized and abused by the Roman Catholic clergy. Krebs directed the image of the child on the cross in intentionally imposing the critique of Clergy Impunity.

The Phantom was born in Queens, New York City. He has two sisters both of whom are now wards of the state, the Nation. Mentally, emotionally disabled. “Beautiful, beautiful souls,” the Phantom finally tells me. She only responds to music. But Mary is higher functioning. They were abused in foster care as children, their single working Mom unable to consistently support her children alone. They were always being displaced by evicting landlords, moving from the City out to Long Island, back to the City, and back together again when Mom could afford them.

The Phantom found mentors, a family of other displaced big brothers who roamed the streets at night. They claimed City corners, blocks as their home. There was no computer or even refrigerator to post up their pictures, or essays so they placed their angst on buildings, platforms, made their mark on exposed walls and it was called street art. It was the ‘80’s, the height of the graffiti art movement, all the rage. So, that’s what they did. They could have done worse. They couldn’t do any better.

Eddie Glowaski, Caine 1, was doing well with his art. The bully’s thought he had money and wanted a piece of it. Eddie ran up the fire escape of an old man who’d been robbed and didn’t care to be victimized again. The old man shot Eddie rather than let them in. The police report says the murder was in self-defense during a robbery.
But Phantom says Eddie wasn’t armed or meaning harm. “It was a case of mistaken identity.” Eddie was cuffed before his wound was treated. He was a hemophiliac. He died of blood loss and no one knew.

The Phantom fled the City, ran off to the Island again where he was sent to a renowned wrestling academy to sharpen his mind, build his strength and physical awareness. And the Phantom began doing well at school. Eventually he made his way to LA and studied interdisciplinary studies at UCLA.
“Knowledge is power,” Phantom says.
He never paid college tuition, but he showed up, auditing the classes regularly at diverse schools such as UCI, Cal Arts and other colleges. No one ever noticed but soon his artwork was.

“Jackdando Mi Kultura taking back Kulture Yo,” is a project of Phantom’ Art Saves Lives (ASL) collective dedicated to preserving ethnic cultural history and promoting social interaction across “diverse expressions,” says Phantom. “We are visionary believers who are returning media to its true messengers.”

“Jack’d in da Hood®” is ASL’s new mascot ‘originated’ by The Phantom in “homage, irreverence” to Fairey’s Andre’ the Giant street bully branding methods.
Though “Jack’d” is reminiscent of a faintly familiar public figure, identified by vigilant experts as fast food magnet “Jack in the Box,” Phantom insists any resemblance is strictly incidental.

The Phantom is not the only Shepherd Fairey detractor who’s popped out of the box.
Mat Gleason, founder of Coagula Magazine an Ovation Satallite TV, Mark Vallen of Art for A Change, Art Blogger Brian Sherwin, Dan Wasserman of The Boston Globe and other critics have all weighed in against Fairey Use™.

As have certain voices of the street. At Shepherd Fairey’s New York show last year a 24-year-old man known by the Tag, “The Slasher,” set off a stink bomb. He now faces a 15-year prison term sentence.
At the Art Basel show in Miami “All City Crew” tagged Shepherd Fairey’s work on display and posted their video doing so on You Tube.

Fairey also has fingers wagging on the web, ‘for shame.’ A two-year debate raged on Flickr, sparked by a former Fairey fan who was shocked upon her discovery that an Obey Giant trademarked poster she purchased “Black Noveau” was not an original Fairey illustration but a traced composite of a classic Koloman Moser reprint bordered by clip art. Fairey or his shop workers only added the Obey Giant logo, with a pithy anti-war epithet and a price TAG.

(Moser + Border = Obey trademark graphic)

The Flickr® thread is at this email address:


Now, more grist’s been tossed into the Zeitgeist since the Stanford Center for Internet and Society’s “Fair Use Project” filed suit on behalf of Shepherd Fairey and Obey Giant Art, Inc. vs. the Associated Press on February 9, 2009.

The Fair Use Project (FUP) complaint, which can be read at http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/taxonomy/term/374, seeks legal vindication over Fairey’s appropriation of ‘the photograph’ snapped by AP freelancer Mannie Garcia.

“Have you read John Keane, ‘The Media and Democracy’?” Phantom pointedly asks. “The media is run by elitists to manipulate public opinion. They’ve also overtaken the independent media, including Satellite Radio.” The Phantom believes the elitists, Fairey among them, are buying out the last bastions of free speech, the Internet, and the very streets. “Shepherd Fairey is a sell-out, a TOY, a dupe for Big Brother.”

Kreb’s argument rings eerily true, in view of the recent FaceBook controversy, where if not for the intervention of some keen John Q. Public observers who actually read FaceBook’s new “terms of use” agreement, content posted on the site would become the property of the online mega-media corp.
Indeed, Fairey’s newly retained legal representative does have an agenda. One of their stated objectives found on FUB’s website is to “clarify and extend the boundaries of “fair use” in order to enhance creative freedom.” And FUB’s website does debatably endorse Silicon Valley giants such as “Google and other major corporate giants including Shephard Fairey.”


List of Contributors and expressed thanks from ASL:

Art Saves Lives, The Collective is a Firm organization committed to social
interaction across cultural differences and ideas through exhibition, education
and community activities.

We foster developmental projects with diverse Artists who
cross many media's genre, and definition of culture to help define art and
education of the future.

Our Collective is composed of unnamed individuals who are today's anonymous
voices of artists who are critics of tommorow's hegemonical power structures.
We are advocates of Credit rather than Dis-credit, respectfully sourcing both
Historical and Cultural references.

Art Saves Lives is an organic formed collective group of watch dogs of the
Media, Culture and the Arts.

The goal of Art Saves Lives, The Collective is to create an aesthetic strategy
which creates commentary, revelation, and exegesis whose purpose is to reach a
mass audience in the interest of challenging our conditioned society

Our performance mimics and models itself after the proposed event but is
disguised with a inveigled statement which questions our culture in question.
Our conceptual work essentially departs from the traditional definitions of
Our Art is of a New Genre which is provocative and confrontative with social and
political issues that are engaging.

We welcome people from all interdisciplines to challenge existing intellectual, economical and aesthetic models of its time.

ART SAVES LIVES would like to extend their thanks and gratitude to Actor, Sebastian Sarceno, represented by Jean-Marc Carre at Central Artists for his outstanding performance art featured on the cover of Citizen LA.

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