Shepard Fairey teams with MTV on new documentary series

Shepard Fairey, center, greets fans in Los Angeles in August.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
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Shepard Fairey is lending his art and time to MTV for a new documentary series that is set to debut next month. “Rebel Music” is a six-episode series that will spotlight political hot spots around the world and explore how art and music have been used to foment change.

It will debut Nov. 18 on mtvU, the cable channel that is available on university and college campuses around the country.

Fairey is serving as an executive producer on the series, which will devote episodes to Egypt, Afghanistan, Mali, India, the Middle East and Mexico. On Wednesday, the Los Angeles street artist was at USC to tape an appearance for the “Stand In” series on the cable channel.


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Speaking by phone shortly afterward, Fairey said he agreed to participate in the “Rebel Music” series because “it mirrors what I believe is important in my art practice -- the marriage of art and activism.”

He said he was creating visuals and print media promotions for the series. “I didn’t create the concept for the show. I came aboard after it was underway,” Fairey said. “I’m being paid to work on it, but it’s not a big paycheck. I’m doing this purely because I believe in it.”

“Rebel Music” will debut Nov. 18 with a half-hour episode focused on the first anniversary of the election of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, since deposed, and the protests that surrounded it. The show will meet civilians who used songs and social media as part of the protests.

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A future episode devoted the city of Tijuana will look into how local artists use their creativity to confront drug violence that has taken over their city.


“Rebel Music” will run through Dec. 19.

Nusrat Durrani, senior vice president and general manager of MTV World, created the show and is executive producer.

Fairey has frequently combined street art with political activism, including his famous “Hope” image of Barack Obama. His appearance on “Stand In” is scheduled to air on mtvU on Nov. 13.


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