Fairey — whose work includes politically provocative street art, clothing and graphic design, which can be seen on the package for Led Zeppelin’s new concert CD and DVD — says he’s seen it work time and again, and he believes it can succeed in Park West, too.
“When art comes into a neighborhood, bars and cafes, galleries and studios open up. Good art makes a real difference in a neighborhood,” Fairey said on a lunch break at Will Call. “Wynwood is completely saturated and people are looking for new places to be creative. Nine impressive pieces will make an impact.”
With a grin, he added: “I’m just glad to have a good canvas.’’
Lesniak and Knoefler say they pulled the project together in a matter of weeks after a sudden brainstorm. They approached Risk, who last year put one of his color washes on the back of the Grand Central building, for help. They credit Risk, whose Risk Rock is underwriting travel and hospitality costs, with corralling big-name collaborators. None of the artists is getting paid, the activists say, and contributions from local properties and businesses have topped $60,000 to cover materials.
All the artists are from out of town, which is not sitting well with some locals, Knoefler concedes.
“They’re doing it free. What are you going to do, say no? Everyone else is so positive about this,’’ he said.
Project coordinators say they have also reached a detente with local graffiti crews so that the new murals don’t get tagged.
Fairey has been working in relative anonymity on his corner just south of Northeast 14th Street.
To encourage visitors and the curious to explore Park West, project coordinators don’t want to specify where the mural work is going on. But it’s easy to find and — here’s a hint — Fairey’s working just a couple of blocks west of the Arsht Center’s opera house.
Once the mural is done sometime Monday, the whole thing will be covered with a clearcoat flecked with metallic sparkles developed by Risk. So will the eight other planned murals.
Other artists, including the twin-brother duo known as How and Nosm (Raoul and David Pierre), are set to start work Monday.
In Wynwood last week, Fairey said he was constantly interrupted by fans with questions and requests for the Obey stickers that first brought him fame, and he was happy to oblige. But he’s been blissfully unmolested while working on the Park West project, in part because he’s too high up on the lift to be bothered. Word has been getting out, though, and photographers have begun stopping by, some with models to pose in front of the work-in-progress.
Fairey’s method is painstaking: He and his crew paste or tape printed paper stencils in place on the wall, then strip away the elements to be spray-painted with a knife. After the paint dries, they remove the remaining paper and touch up the paint. Unlike his other designs, which cover a wall entirely, this one has large open sections to let Risk’s colors show through.
“They’re really beautiful,’’ Fairey said.