Shepard Fairey offers a bit of 'hope' to the streets of Paris

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Shepard Fairey is one of the most celebrated street artists today, a pioneer of the underground urban movement and famous worldwide for his ‘Hope’ poster created for Barack Obama’s 2008 election campaign, now a permanent feature in the US National Portrait Gallery. This summer he visited Paris to mount a 40 metre-tall slice of his graphic oeuvre in the capital’s 13th arrondissement (photo), when Mediapart caught up with him, camera in hand, to follow the American artist at work. Hugo Vitrani reports on a man who seems incapable of escaping controversy, arrest and a constant desire to re-paint the urban jungle (video report and interviews available on article pages).       

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When Mediapart met US street artist Shepard Fairey at his Los Angeles base in February 2011, he was on bail. Ever since he began his first illegal urban graphics in 1989, 42 year-old Fairey, who became widely-known with his ‘Hope’ poster for Barack Obama’s 2008 election campaign, has spent a lot of time either holed up in police custody or inside museums – sometimes even both.