"For our portraits, I thought Ron & I
should be live-action onstage. I painted ourselves on canvas in black
and silver (silver paint & silver metal leaf.) I closely recreated
of a photo of myself. Ron’s image is a composite of photos and memories.
It is as close to reality as it had been onstage. Just the facts." - Niagara
addition to Niagara’s art, I riffed upon newspaper headlines and punk
flyers with my own pattern elements woven in as well. To me, punk has
always been about provocation and an ability to work both inside and
outside the framework of mass culture. I love Niagara’s subversive sense
of humor, so I did my best Niagara impersonation with the fake
newspaper headline ‘Let There Be Dark.’" - Shepard Fairey
Read our full exclusive interview with Niagara and Shepard Fairey at News.1xRUN.com...
While attending the University of Michigan in 1974, Niagara and Mike Kelley formed Destroy All Monsters. The band, known to fans as DAM, was active until 1985, earning international recognition due largely to the presence of former members of The Stooges and the MC5. Later, she fronted the supergroup Dark Carnival (with Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton and his brother Scott Asheton, Stooges drummer).
Niagara utilized art school experience in creating album and promotional art for Destroy All Monsters, Dark Carnival, and other acts. Combining collage and pop iconography, Niagara's style began to take shape, and by the early 1990's she presented her work in galleries and cafes around Detroit.
With critical recognition for her painting established, Niagara teamed up with the Detroit gallery CPop in 1996. Her first exhibits "All Men Are Cremated Equal" (1996) and "Faster Niagara, Kill...Kill" (1997) were breakout shows that fostered national recognition. Juxtapoz (art journal) heralded her as "The Queen Of Detroit." Successful exhibits in other cities followed, including Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Sydney, Tokyo and others.
"The Niagara Girl" - in many guises - represented feminist swagger with drop-dead-gorgeous looks and a dangerous demeanor. She offered hard-boiled, tough talking women who would rather dispatch a man than put up with rude antics. Her bold, colorful, comic-strip-styled dames in various scenes of malfeasence parallel the modern tone of Callie Khoury's Thelma and Louise. Common ancestors include pin-up girls like Bettie Page and the dark side of 40's and 50's film icons such as Bette Davis, Lauren Bacall and Jane Greer. For more information visit www.niagaradetroit.com
Shepard Fairey was born in Charleston, S.C. and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, R.I. As a student there he created the “Andre the Giant has a Posse” sticker that transformed into the OBEY GIANT art campaign, which featured imagery that has changed the way people see art and the urban landscape. His work has evolved into an acclaimed body of art, which includes the 2008 "Hope" portrait of Barack Obama, found at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.
Fairey’s 25-plus-year career started in 1989 with his sticker campaign. In addition to his guerrilla street art presence, the artist has executed more than 75 large-scale painted public murals around the world as of spring 2017. His works are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and many others.
In 2015 Fairey worked with Galerie Itinerrance in Paris to install his Earth Crisis Globe at the Eiffel Tower in time for the COP21 Climate Conference. The installation was created as a call to action to protect the planet and was unveiled just days following the Paris Attacks on November 13, 2015. Later in 2016, Fairey opened “Earth Crisis,” a solo exhibition with Galerie Itinerrance showcasing a body of environmentally-themed works.
The artist completed a career survey museum show in Hong Kong in 2016 at the Hong Kong Contemporary Art (HOCA) Foundation entitled “Visual Disobedience” and in 2017 he exhibited his “Peace & Justice” show and mural in Seoul, Korea at the Hangaram Art Museum at Seoul Arts Center.
Collaborating with the Amplifier Foundation, Fairey helped launch the “We The People” campaign in January 2017, a project dedicated to igniting a national dialogue about American identity and values through public art and story sharing. His portraits celebrate diversity and inclusion and have become a visual centerpiece for marches, protests, and global discourse.
Fairey has been awarded the Art Wynwood Tony Goldman Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award and Visionary Award, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) Voices of Courage Media Award, is a Rush Arts honoree, the first-ever P.S. ARTS heART Award, an honorary doctorate from Pratt Institute, and more.
For more information, visit www.OBEYGIANT.com.