By Edward Cardenas
DETROIT (CBS Detroit) – Street artist Shepard Fairey unveiled Thursday a new, multi-story mural on the side of One Campus Martius which overlooks downtown Detroit.READ MORE: Two People Killed After Car Attempts To Outrun Amtrak Train in Detroit
The 184-foot by 60 foot mural is the largest Fairey, who may be best known for creating the “Hope” poster of Barack Obama, has created in his career.
Fairey was commissioned by Bedrock Real Estate Services, Meridian Health and Library Street Collective to paint the large mural, and six smaller works in the art-filled alley known as ‘The Belt’ which cuts through The Z parking structure connecting Grand River and Gratiot Avenues.
“I love Detroit because there is a lot of great architecture, old signage. What other people may see as decay, I see as a beautiful playground,” said Fairey, who filled his mural with beauty and a deeper message. “Woven into it, inside the flower petals are some flames, and I like to have duality with my work. Is it the flames of triumph, or the flames that are going to destroy of our over-consumption?”
Fairey added that he wants the work to be inspiring for the neighborhood but will also have a connection to his work that poses more challenging questions about the environment.
To create the large mural, Fairey used over 300 cans of paint on the large canvas that was “grueling work.” While he admitted that it was tough – when combined with weather that ranged from 83 and muggy to 55 and cool – it was also forgiving.READ MORE: Biden Announces Nearly $3 Billion To Address Food Shortages
“It’s actually very forgiving to work at that scale. If something is off an inch here, or an inch there, it is imperceptible from a distant,” he said.
Students from the Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences also had the opportunity to interact with Fairey and color their own versions of the large mural.
“He inspired me to do my best on art,” said Jeremiah Bell, 13, who appreciated Fairey’s description of how he got his start in humble beginnings. “He didn’t grow up in expensive house. He grew up poor, just like most people.”
In addition to unveiling the works Thursday, the Library Street Collective will host a solo exhibition called Printed Matters, open to the public from Friday, May 22 to Saturday, August 15, featuring Fairey’s work.
There will also be an opening reception in the alley from 6 – 10 p.m. Friday with food trucks and live music including a DJ performance by the Detroit-based indie-pop band Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. Fairey will also serve as a DJ at the event.MORE NEWS: 'These Cases Are Not Over': Michigan Solicitor General Reacts To Court's Ruling In Flint Water Crisis Indictments
This is the latest public work of to be commissioned by Bedrock and the Rock Ventures. In recent years, the companies have commissioned, partnered and collaborated with approximately 70 local artists on more than 100 projects in downtown Detroit.