Child Soldier Mural By Shepard Fairey Painted Over Days After It Goes Up

Covington, KY – The mural at 242 W. Pike St. – which Fairey and his team of artists spent several hours pasting up in sections on Tuesday – drew negative reactions from Claypool and some of his clients and neighbors, including John G. Carlisle Elementary School across the street. The dominant image in the red, black and white mural, titled “Duality of Humanity 4 Pike Street,” is an Asian child soldier holding an automatic rifle.

Fairey’s website, says the artist believes his “Duality of Humanity” images “draw parallels between the complex emotions surrounding the Vietnam War and those felt now about the invasion of Iraq.”

Late Thursday morning, painters hired by Claypool covered the mural with white paint.

Full Story – HERE

I agree, having the mural right across from an elementary school probably isn’t a great location.  They should have figured that out before hand though.

We had a bit of a Shepard Fairey discussion once before in the comments back on the Creepy Human Bone Art post.

Pretty cool looking mural, despite the blatant plagiarism that is inherent in the OBEY brand.

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Josh May 22, 2010 at 09:33 am

It looks like this work and several others were derivatives of photos of Cambodian child soldiers taken by Al Rockoff in the 70’s. At least he’s giving him credit for it, unlike the AP photo/Obama “Hope” poster nonsense.

I agree it was poor taste, especially so close to an elementary school. I never would have offered to allow anyone to put a mural on my property without approving what it was first, though. Not a great move by the building owner!

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Rick May 23, 2010 at 12:15 am

What really gets me is how on the poll, a majority of people disagree with the decision to paint over the mural. I agree with my cousin’s decision to do it (First cousin once removed if I recall correctly). He graciously allowed the artist to use the wall for his mural, and is well within his rights to rescind that decision. I will agree that not knowing exactly what was going up was not a good decision though, but considering that the rest of the murals had apparently been positively recieved, I can understand why a man as busy as Mike might approve it without learning exactly what it would be. Fairey definitely dropped the ball by not thinking through the impact of his art, that is of paramount importance to an artist, and not learning enough about the site to ensure a more appropriate context is not something an artist should be doing, considering how so much of art’s impact is in its reception. He screwed up worse than anybody by not noticing that.

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Mike May 23, 2010 at 02:45 am

Am I the only person who thinks this was the response he wanted? He couldn’t ask for a better one. Art is supposed to move people. If that involves offends them, then so be it. Just because a response is “negative” doesn’t mean it wasn’t intended. That mural is beautiful in my opinion, and if it reminds people of things in this world that are not good, then they should change those things. Attacking someone for pointing out a flaw in the world doesn’t solve the flaw. I do agree that the owner has every right to cover it or destroy it or anything he or she wants. If a child soldier offends the populace, perhaps they need to do something about about it instead of just painting over them.

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Gun Nikhai May 24, 2010 at 04:36 am

Well it pissed people off…I guess it was a pretty effective piece of art.

Woulda made a better mascot than some of the ones I see around these days.

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Derp May 24, 2010 at 08:43 am

Wait… wasn’t the obey logo created by this Shepard Fairey guy?

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Admin (Mike) May 24, 2010 at 01:10 pm
Dan May 24, 2010 at 03:25 pm

Wow, I had never seen that. That is bad, very bad.

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Dan May 24, 2010 at 03:41 pm
Admin (Mike) May 27, 2010 at 04:40 pm

wow, and in a major newspaper too! Good link, thanks!

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Pete May 24, 2010 at 02:52 pm

Duality of Humanity? What kind of statement is that? Who’s team is this guy on? Is he saying that inside every Iraqi there is an American trying to get out?

For the full scene:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMEViYvojtY

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Admin (Mike) May 27, 2010 at 04:41 pm

hehe great FMJ scene!

Yea when I read that he called the installment “duality of humanity” I did an eye roll.

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Stephen VanDyke January 18, 2011 at 09:05 pm

Old people should die in wars, not young people. The fact that wars are perpetrated by our senior generations who do not do the fighting is the very message of showcasing child soldiers. Fairey is intentionally glorifying it as COOL to kind of make the jarring contrast that knuckleheads need to understand what’s really going on in the world. It’s brutal, and you can’t just ignore it.

To the commenter who spoke of the proximity to a school: so what? You can’t put blinders on children and not expect the hypocrisy to be exposed at some point.

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