American, b. 1970
Darby Crash, 2012
Signed Shepard Fairey and dated 2012 (lr)
Acrylic and collage on paper
42 1/2 x 30 inches
RISD graduate Fairey was a beloved figure in the skateboard and punk rock communities throughout the 90s for his legendary "Andre the Giant Has a Posse" stickers, and the subsequent silkscreen prints made for his company Obey. His work has used concepts of guerrilla marketing and phenomenology to address anti-war movements and other grassroots social concerns. For Barack Obama's 2008 election campaign, Fairey created the "Hope" poster, which became one of the most recognizable and iconic political images of modern times. That image, after gracing the cover of Time Magazine, now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, helping Fairey cross over from seminal Street Artist to international recognition as a truly gifted fine artist. His work is a part of the collections of the Smithsonian, the MoMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
The subject of this portrait, Darby Crash was one of the most legendary figures on the late 70s LA punk scene. Lead singer of The Germs, Crash was a highly gifted teen, often quoting Hesse and Nietzsche, and famous for wildly injuring himself onstage during The Germs' insane live shows. Confused and brilliant, Crash was channeling a childhood with abuse and mental illness into some of the most raw and intense music of his (or any) time. Wrestling with drug abuse and terrified of revealing his homosexuality, Darby Crash intentionally overdosed on heroin, committing suicide in 1980. He was 22 years old. Released in 2007, the biographical film What We Do Is Secret had a major theatrical release and celebrated The Germs' place in music history and Darby Crash's enduring legend.
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