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Artist Robbie Conal talks about Shepard Fairey case

January 16, 2010 |  4:15 pm


The Times' Patt Morrison sat down with L.A. street artist Robbie Conal to talk topics including guerrilla art, President Obama and the new book "Not Your Typical Political Animal."

At one point, the conversation veers toward Shepard Fairey, who is in the midst of a lawsuit with the Associated Press over the artist's use of one of the news agency's photographs featuring Obama.

Morrison asked Conal what he thinks about Fairey and the case.

"We're friends, and I value that," said Conal. "The jury has not even convened. There is an issue, and Shepard has copped to that."

In October, Fairey publicly admitted to using a certain photograph by AP photographer Mannie Garcia. He also revealed that he had knowingly submitted false images and deleted others in the legal proceedings in an attempt to conceal the fact that the AP had correctly identified the photo that the artist had used as a reference for his "Hope" poster.

Conal explained to Morrison the rough-and-tumble ethos of street artists: "No matter what anybody says, in the heat of making stuff, and coming from the subculture -- that's not even on the radar screen, that it's somebody else's photograph, that they make their living doing that. It's like, 'Where can I get stuff. I've got something on my mind.' "

Read Morrison's interview with Conal here.

-- David Ng

Photo: Robbie Conal. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

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