June 28, 2012


Why Was a Russell Brand Billboard Vandalized With Katy Perry Graffiti?

Early Thursday morning at 12:20 am., photos emerged of a billboard on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles advertising Russell Brand's new show Brand X (which premieres tonight on FX). The billboard had been vandalized, scrawled over with the following: "I WOULD RATHER WATCH THE KATY PERRY MOVIE." Brand's name was also crossed out in graffiti.

Outlets including the New York Post and MTV called the vandal a "Katy Perry fan" and an "overzealous KatyCat." But is it possible that they've missed what's really going on here?

The Brand X billboard, as well as the set for the show itself, was designed by Shepard Fairey, the famed illustrator who got his start as a graffiti artist before spearheading the OBEY clothing line and designing that infamous Obama "HOPE" poster.

The graffiti world, full of people offended by the commercialization of their art, has widely fallen out of love with Fairey over his perceived status as a sellout. Last year in Denmark, for example, Fairey was beaten up outside a nightclub, possibly for cashing in on the street art community. LA Weekly explained it this way: "In a profession that must monetize counterculture, there is still a very sensitive line between making ends meet and selling out; Fairey has dared to cross it."

So, which is more likely: That a Katy Perry fan scaled a billboard some 50 feet off the ground, in a very public place, to commit a highly skilled act of vandalism  without getting caught ... OR did a member of the graffiti community do this as an anti-Shepard Fairey statement?

I side with the latter. But what do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments!