Shepard Fairey, RISK team up again to paint a wall on L.A.'s skid row

Shepard Fairey on a break from stenciling a mural that he's creating on L.A.'s skid row with fellow street artist RISK.
(Deborah Vankin / Los Angeles Times)

Street artists Shepard Fairey and RISK are at it again. For Art Basel Miami last year, the two painted a mural together, known as the “Peace & Justice Collaboration.”

On Monday, they teamed up again for another Peace & Justice wall, this time on downtown L.A.’s skid row.

The project is a two-mural set on the side of the Rossmore Hotel at East 6th Street and Ceres Avenue. It’s a joint effort between LA Freewalls’ Daniel Lahoda and the nonprofit Skid Row Housing Trust, which plan to put up as many as 30 murals in the area by a variety of artists.

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RISK painted the backgrounds for the murals late last year, using the color washes he’s known for. One wall drips with warm red and orange tones, the other with cool shades of green and blue.


On Monday, Fairey added cream-colored, geometric stenciling to one of RISK’s finished backgrounds. On either side of a picture of the scales of justice, it now reads: “Good Times, Bad Times,” referring to a Led Zeppelin song. The wall beside it will feature a lyric that Fairey chose from a Clash song: “A lot of people won’t get no justice tonight.”

“Skid row is a place that needs something to brighten things up a bit,” Fairey said on a break from stenciling. “I’m always, in my work and my practice, trying to deal with issues of social justice and human rights.”

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Lahoda, who’s produced three murals in the skid row area, says the point of the project is to beautify the neighborhood – not toward gentrification, but simply to make it a more pleasant place to live.

“Homeless people should have as much beautiful art on their living room walls as wealthy collectors,” Lahoda said.


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Twitter: @debvankin