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Urban art, jeans, and the cultural relationship between France and US

On 11 May 2012, Levi's opened in Paris at the Champs-Élysées its second largest flagship store in Europe (after Regent Street in London) in a three levels space on 650 square meters with the presentation of the cultural collaboration between France and US with works by the visual artists André Saraiva (Paris) and Shepard Fairey (Los Angeles). The artists' views on both countries will be on show for the duration of two months at the store. Additionally, the artists have created clothing pieces such as the jackets on this page.

fig. left: Graffiti artist, nightlife figure, Creative Editor of L'Officiel Hommes André (alias André Saraiva, born 1971 in Uppsala/Sweden, living since childhood in Paris).

fig. right: Shepard Fairey is probably best known for his 'Hope'-portrait of Barack Obama in 2008. Shepard Fairey studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and founded in 1989 the Obey Giant street art campaign. The stickers of Obey Giant are made of a mix of aesthetics known from punk rock, skateboard culture, commercial advertising and political campaigns. The stickers' are 'meaningless' (they carry no 'messages') or contain dissonant meanings (which bring the psyche of the viewer into stress). The intention is provocation to make people think about their surrounding in an urban landscape. Currently, Shepard Fairey announces on the website of Obey Giant the release of the new sticker 'Shoplifters Welcome' created by himself in collaboration with British artist Jamie Reid for 15 May 2012: "The new images deal with mutual interests of Jamie and I, addressing the timeless problems of corruption and wealth inequality, but tie into the very current themes of Occupy Wall Street and the dead end of fossil fuel consumption." posts Shepard Fairey on

fig. from above: Jackets 'Metaphisik' by André Saraiva, 'Vive Le Rock' by Shepard Fairey.

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