Totally Inspired — Shepard & Lance
He started with those ubiquitous Andre The Giant Posters, which morphed into the omnipresent “Obey” movement. I recall living in NYC in the early 90′s, and you couldn’t walk a block without seeing the graphic pop art of Shepard Fairey — from small painted reliefs adorning the sidewalks and kiosks to massive paintings covering entire buildings in SoHo — and wondering, “What is this all about? Who is responsible for this art?” Yet he seemed to fly anonymous. A mysterious dark knight of high graphic art, with all of NYC as his canvas.
His images became a brand. An industry into themselves. But it wasn’t until recently that this amazing artist was thrust into the mainstream with arguably one of the most iconic images of our generation, our time, our country — the Obama “HOPE” image.
And now he’s done it again — these huge murals of Lance adorn the intersection of Hollywood and Vine and take the movement of Obama hope one step further in inspiration.
There is just something about Sheaprd Fairey’s art that strikes a deep, resonant populist chord. Maybe its the thinly veiled inversion of its propaganda art ancestry. The converse of the communist era Lenin posters, or cold-war era of Soviet propaganda, his images subvert traditional notions of propaganda, infusing them with a post-modern message to lift a democratic people in these difficult times — images of hope, change, courage, defiance and action. Messages which transcend politics or partisan idealogy. A transfixing call to action aimed at a country desperately in need of a main line infusion of positivity and change.
They are evocative, provactive and lingering. Once you seem them, you simply cannot remove the image from your mind.
And personally, I am thrilled with the Lance murals now gracing my city. We need this. We need to heed the words of our new Commander in Chief who is demanding not that we go out and “spend” (as his predecessor urged), nor that we “trust government” to take care of things. Rather, he is demanding that everyone must sacrifice. That our problems will be solved only with a collective movement. A movement not only of “hope”, but one that requires, as Lance so fully embodies and as so artfully articulated by our President, of “defiance” — defiance not only of the norm, traditional modes of status quo, or of partisan divides — but defiance of the limits other people put on ourselves. And the limits we perceive within ourselves. Defiance, coupled with the unifying message of “courage” that is empty without “action”. Powerful stuff.
Thank you Shepard. Thank you President Obama. And thank you Lance.
And so, I am inspired. Inspired to better embody these themes, this “ethos” into my personal life. Through my approach to work, my own financial crucible, my relationships with others. Through my quest to promote plant-based nutrition for athletes and the general public. Through my approach to training and racing. But most importantly, through the limits other people place on me, and more importantly I put on myself.
Yesterday I was out on a ride with my coach Chris Hauth and the crew. A beautiful morning, we headed up PCH, then turned to tackle Malibu’s Latigo Canyon, a long challenging ascent very popular with the local cycling crowd. My time off showed. I was not up to form. I was getting dropped. It was awesome, because it really gave me the wake up call I needed to re-focus and begin applying myself. I can’t wait to start anew.
And to boot? I found out after we crested that Lance himself was several minutes behind us, tackling the same climb. On the same morning. Unfortunately I never saw him. But my disappointment was eclipsed by the simple and deeply felt knowledge that I was where I was supposed to be. Or at least in the general vicinity.
8 Mar 2009