As part of its 25th anniversary events, AS220 in Providence just gave out its first two “Free Culture Awards” to Los Angeles street artist and former Providence guy Shepard Fairey and Brandon Edens, AS220’s very own tech engineer and creator of the copyright-free local music Jukebox. In connection with the award – which AS220 plans to bestow every other year on two artists, one local and one national, whose work has made a significant contribution to grassroots, participatory culture, freedom of expression and whose art and/or process embodies the organization’s unjuried, uncensored mission – AS220 commissioned a 40-by-80-foot mural designed by Fairey and painted by Johan Bjurman on the rear of the Pell Chafee building along Aborn Street in downtown Providence. It’s billed as Fairey’s largest mural in existence.
As the Providence Phoenix notes: “The work references Fairey’s own stint in the city when, as a RISD student, he launched a career with his “Andre the Giant Has a Posse” guerilla sticker campaign. At the center of the image is the Art Deco-style Bank of America tower, better known as the Superman building. The words “Providence” and “Industrial” stretch out on either side. To the left: a train trestle, with an Andre the Giant image affixed, and a piece of the Atlantic Mills facility, where Fairey had a studio.” (Read more here.)