For much of my career I only made 18 x 24-inch screen prints of my images, so for this series I have created 30 x 41-inch fine art prints on custom paper. This series will be the first time many of these images are available as nicer art pieces. It has been fun to revisit older images utilizing the broader palette of techniques I've developed over the years. To kick things off, I'll be starting by releasing newer images and spanning back to some art that hasn't been seen for a while.
I've touched upon the abuse of authority by police and racism with several images that I created over the years, but since this series of 30th-anniversary works is only 30 images, I chose "Bias by Numbers" as an important piece that features an intersection of those concerns.
"Bias by Numbers" addresses racial bias in policing, criminal justice, and media culture. Racial bias in policing and criminal justice has a long history, including stats like – black people being five times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people, and four times more likely to be subjected to unnecessary use of force, or four times more likely to be killed by the police when unarmed. The statistics revealing racial bias in prosecution and sentencing are compelling as well. Though recreational drug use is equally common in both predominantly black communities and predominantly white communities, convictions for drug possession are almost six times higher for blacks. Blacks frequently receive longer prison sentences than whites contributing to African Americans being incarcerated at more than five times the rate of whites.
Racial bias in police enforcement undermines public trust and presents a significant threat to the legitimacy of law enforcement in all communities. However, racial bias as a police issue may be intensified by other cultural factors which are both overt and insidious. Media characterizations of black protesters use words such as "agitators," "lawless thugs," "hoodlums" and many more, whereas descriptions of white protesters typically read as individuals "exercising free speech," "expressing their convictions," and "showing what democracy looks like." I hope this art doesn't just appeal visually but allows viewers to look at the layers of information and facts and think about how to make positive changes to patterns of injustice.
Bias by Numbers. Serigraph on 100% Cotton Custom Archival Paper with hand-deckled edges. 30 x 41 inches. Signed by Shepard Fairey. Numbered edition of 89. $900.