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Geographies of street art: Shepard Fairey and the trans-scalar imagination

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Street art is an emerging art form that insists on unmediated access to the urban realm. It seeks to reconnect urban populations with their surroundings by unsettling apparently banal landscapes that serve to reinforce dominant world-views. It operates through our reimagining of the urban environment, with designs on broader rethinking of our ways-of-being. This article charts new geographic imaginings through Shepard Fairey’s ‘Power & Glory’ exhibition in Charleston, South Carolina. ‘Power & Glory’ posits a trans-scalar geographical imagination, originating in new senses-of-belonging in the city to describe an arc from local to global; to return, finally, to the city as the immediate scale of existence.
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Keywords: Charleston (SC); Shepard Fairey; geographical imagination; geopolitics; scale; street art; ‘Power & Glory’

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: College of Charleston

Publication date: 01 September 2014

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  • Cities have been increasingly at the forefront of debate in both humanities and social-science disciplines, but there has been relatively little dialogue across these disciplinary boundaries. Journals in social-science fields that use urban-studies methods to look at life in cities rarely explore the cultural aspects of urban life in any depth or delve into close readings of the representation of cities in individual cultural products. As a platform for interdisciplinary scholarship from any and all linguistic, cultural and geographical traditions, the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies prioritizes the urban phenomenon in order to better understand the culture(s) of cities.
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