Shepard Fairey has recently become front page news as a result of his Obama “Hope” poster. Fairey started as a street artist who regularly got arrested while painting his work on buildings and in other public places. Before the internet he would Xerox his work and hand it out on the streets and at events. He would encourage the recipients to copy it again and distribute it further. After the internet he became a master at viral distribution of his work. In the process he has managed to keep a counter culture image while becoming the image designer for such commercial icons as Saks.
Fairey is a classical example of the 21st century artist who uses his work as the primary tool to expand awareness and to promote his commercial career. The cognitive dissonance of giving his work away and charging for it at the same time is not a mystery to him, it is his natural process. There is a wonderful interview with Terry Gross at Fresh Air which illustrates his strategy in his own words. If you are interested the link to the interview is below:
Fresh Air Interview - Shepard Fairey
There is much that can be learned from this and applied to classical music.
Someone alerted me to another great piece from 60 minutes:
Sixty Minutes Interview