Authorities in Detroit issued an arrest warrant for famous street artist Shepard Fairey last week based on felony charges for tagging properties around the city.
He had been commissioned to create the city’s largest mural in May, the Detroit Free Press reports, and also worked with the Library Street Collective to complete multiple art projects and installations across Detroit. While in town, Fairey admitted, he planned to do other work without permission. After he left, police began to investigate a series of nine paintings with Fairey’s signature Andre the Giant picture.
Fairey, who created the widely popular “Hope” poster of Barack Obama during his successful 2008 campaign for the White House, is accused of pasting at least nine large posters and tagging several more locations, resulting in damages of about $9,100. The artist is faced with two accounts of malicious destruction of property, which have a maximum prison term of five years, and fines of possibly more than $10,000.
Police say they will arrest Fairey the next time he returns to Detroit, if he does not turn himself in. “Just because he is a well-known artist, does not take away the fact that he is also a vandal,” Police Sergeant Rebecca McKay, who oversees Detroit’s graffiti task force, said. “And that’s what we consider was done in these instances, was vandalism.”