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Fairey gets probation in vandal case

July 11, 2009|David Ng

The legal adventures of Shepard Fairey came to a head Friday when the L.A. street artist received a sentence of two years' probation from a Boston court as part of a plea arrangement with prosecutors.

Fairey agreed to plead guilty to three vandalism charges in exchange for prosecutors' dropping 11 other charges. The artist pleaded guilty to one charge of defacing property and two charges of "wanton destruction of property" valued at under $250. The judge also ordered Fairey to pay $2,000 to a graffiti removal organization and said that the artist cannot possess tagging materials except for legal art installations.

Fairey, 39, issued a public apology to the citizens of Boston for "posting my art in unauthorized spaces without the consent of the owner." He also said in a statement that "I believe in the importance of making art accessible through many avenues, and I will continue to advocate the use of legal public spaces for meaningful artistic expression and communication."

In February, Fairey was arrested while he was in Boston for a solo exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art. Friday's verdict means he faces no more charges in Massachusetts.

But the artist's legal troubles are far from over. In an unrelated set of cases, Fairey and the Associated Press have sued each other over the use of a photo of President Obama that served as the inspiration for Fairey's popular "Hope" poster during the 2008 presidential election.

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David Ng

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