Posted by: Waheeda Harris | July 2, 2012

That face looks familiar….

I’m always looking for graffiti. Sometimes its easy to find – just peek down an alley and there it will be. But sometimes its tough, and it might mean getting adventurous or taking a risk. I’m always careful, and a lot of times it pays off.

When I was in New Orleans, I was biking along the path in Algiers, and spotted this face:

I didn’t know about this face – yet it seemed familiar. Thanks to the web community, I was told it was Shepard Fairey, and I went to his website to read about his graffiti and art.

Then I got to see the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, which revealed the world of graffiti, Banksy, Shepard Fairey and Mister Brainwash. I heard Fairey speak about his creation of this face, based on Andre the Giant, and how it later morphed into the inspiration for his poster of US President Barack Obama.

As Fairey explained, the image had been posted all over the place, initially by stickers, and then by graffiti. I was thrilled that I had seen the image on the side of a train car, idly waiting for its next use in New Orleans.

Five months later, I’m exploring the city of Pittsburgh, and as I’m headed to the Duquesne Incline, I overheard someone ask about an old building nearby. As I heard the explanation of what may happen to it, I looked at it and spotted Fairey’s work, gazing out from the crumbling wall.

I loved how travel had linked me to an artist based in Los Angeles, how the web had led me to learn about him, to watch the documentary and to find his art again, this time in another city. It confirmed to me another reason why I travel – to keep learning.



  1. I love it! I saw some shepard fairey in Boston last spring…. The exit through the gift shop documentary was so good! I loved it

    • Lucky you to see Shepard Fairey in Boston – I’m hoping I’ll spot some more soon!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: