Shepard Fairey x Matt Hooker & Chris Nichol
At the beginning of 2021, a new law required hospitals to provide clear pricing to patients. The nonprofit Power to the Patients teamed up with artist and activist Shepard Fairey to spread the word about the law and push for further clarity—particularly vital during the emergence of COVID-19. Fairey, founder of OBEY Clothing, emerged from the late-1980s skateboarding scene, and he gained international prominence with his famed “HOPE” portrait of President Barack Obama.
Fairey’s Power to the Patients design, duplicated by painters across the country, recalls his prior influences, ranging from contemporary street art to Soviet artist and graphic designer Alexsander Rodchenko. At Camp North End, Charlotte’s version of Fairey’s design was faithfully recreated by Matt Hooker and Chris Nichol in October 2021. Fairey himself would later visit the region to add new paint to spaces in Rock Hill and Queens University of Charlotte. In turn, an internationally celebrated artist left a notable imprint across the entire region.
On his affiliation with Power the Patients, Fairey has commented that the charge is personal: “I’m a Type 1 Diabetic, (and) my wife has Multiple Sclerosis and I’ve seen friends with cancer be bankrupted,” Fairey said, at the start of the campaign. “So, of course, healthcare and healthcare costs are important to me. I also see the way that art can affect people and draw them into an issue that they might otherwise reject or ignore. That’s what I’m trying to do with my art for the Power to the Patients movement, to make sure that it connects with people emotionally and intellectually.”
For the nonprofit behind this piece, the battle continues. As of 2022, it still is pushing enforcement of the Hospital Price Transparency Rule in U.S. hospitals. ” …Many hospitals continue to flout its requirements, leaving patients in the dark and vulnerable to financial turmoil,” the group says.« back