Shepard Fairey’s Las Vegas art exhibit is commentary on gun control

It’s a thing of beauty from afar, a swirl of color and crescent shapes as naturally inviting to the eye as a bright smile.

Come a little closer, though, and the visual allure becomes weaponized.

The drum kit is gorgeous, painted in rich maroons and golds, decorated with lustrous mandalas, the Indian spiritual symbol representing peace and harmony in the universe.

Inspect those mandalas further, though, and it turns out those aforementioned crescents are ammunition clips and pistols, AK-47s and handguns.

The artwork that adorns these one-of-a-kind drums is taken from a piece called “Rise Above” created by Shepard Fairey, the celebrated street artist, graphic designer and founder of Obey Clothing. (At the center of the mandalas is a star featuring the face of Andre the Giant, an image that first propelled Fairey to national exposure as part of his “Obey” sticker campaign in the early ’90s.)

Fairey collaborated on the project with SJC Drums, which created the kit, and Frank Zummo, drummer for punk bands Sum 41 and the Street Drum Corps, who toured with it from 2016-17.

Now, it’s part of the Hard Rock Hotel’s memorabilia collection, on display near the main entrance of the property’s All-Suite Tower.

On Friday, Fairey, SJC Drums owner Mike Ciprari and Zummo and his Sum 41 bandmates unveiled the kit at its new home atop a rotating riser.

Clad in a leather jacket and Clash T-shirt, Fairey explained the concept behind “Rise Above.”

“It’s about rising above our more base failures in dealing with other beings like we want to be dealt with,” he said, “rising above aggression, rising above reactionary behavior, rising above violence.”

This message is a timely one, as the deadly school shooting Wednesday in Florida has thrust the debate over access to firearms back into the national spotlight.

“It’s a very, very powerful piece about gun control,” Zummo says. “I’m not a person who speaks my views on social media or in the press. I like to keep that stuff to myself. The way I express myself is performing and drumming. I wanted this drum set to relay what I was feeling.”

Zummo and Fairey’s creative partnership goes back a few years. In 2013, the Street Drum Corps had a residency at Vinyl at the Hard Rock and Fairey painted Zummo’s bass drum head, which he had never done before.

They later decided to take their collaboration a step further, with Fairey doing an entire kit for Zummo.

“I just called him and I told him my thoughts on how I was feeling with everything that was going on in the world,” Zummo recalls of the initial conversation he had with Fairey about the theme behind the project. “He said, ‘I have the perfect piece for you for exactly what you’re talking about, my ‘Rise Above’ piece.’ ”

Explains Fairey: “Frank saw the connection between my anti-gun violence mandala and my punk rock roots, specifically with the phrase ‘Rise Above’ that functions as both an homage to a Black Flag song and a plea to rise above gun violence.”

Finding the right art piece was one thing, though.

Finding a way to actually get it on a drum kit was another challenge entirely — Ciprari spent a week researching how to make it possible, according to Zummo.

“Basically, they were able to etch that art into the actual shells, which I’ve never seen done on drums before,” Zummo says. “The background of the piece was printed onto the shells, and then they had an etching machine etch the art into it. You can feel those guns. It’s insane, just the detail and craftsmanship that went into these drums.”

According to Zummo, Fairey is working on his next kit, hand-painting it this time. They’re also creating a limited edition snare drum with proceeds to be donated to the L.A.’s Silverlake Conservatory of Music.

In the meantime, there’s “Rise Above” to provide ammo for thought.

“I hope the ‘Rise Above’ message sinks in,” Fairey says. “But in a broader sense, I hope that people see the power of art and music individually, but also how they can have even more power when they are combined.”

Contact Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Brunch Spot The Stove Makes Unicorn Hot Chocolate And Bananas Foster Pancakes
New Brunch Spot The Stove Makes Unicorn Hot Chocolate And Bananas Foster Pancakes. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Octopus On The Las Vegas Strip Predicted The Winner Of The World Cup
The Octopus On The Las Vegas Strip Predicted The Winner Of The World Cup. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
TLC by the Numbers
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
How to feel like a kid again in Las Vegas
How to feel like a kid again in Las Vegas
People Lined Up For Over 5 Hours For Build-a-bear's "Pay Your Age" Promotion At Galleria Mall
People Lined Up For Over 5 Hours For Build-a-bear's "Pay Your Age" Promotion At Galleria Mall. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Pawn Stars' Richard Harrison honored at memorial service
A memorial service was conducted for Richard "Old Man" Harrison at Palm Mortuary in Las Vegas on Sunday, July 1, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
5 must-see bands at Warped Tour 2018
Five must-see bands at Warped Tour 2018
This Banana Split In Las Vegas Is Made With Fire And Liquid Nitrogen Right At Your Table.
This Banana Split In Las Vegas Is Made With Fire And Liquid Nitrogen Right At Your Table. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pixar Pier At Disneyland Is Open With New Food And A New Roller Coaster
Pixar Pier At Disneyland Is Open With New Food And A New Roller Coaster (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Here's What It's Like To Ride The New Incredicoaster At Disneyland
Here's What It's Like To Ride The New Incredicoaster At Disneyland (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Get a sneak peek at Palace Station's newest renovations
Station Casinos spokesperson Lori Nelson gives a first look at what Palace Station's $192 million renovation will bring. Some areas will begin opening to the public next week according to Nelson. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
You Can Only Get The 11-pound 8-person Burger In Las Vegas
You Can Only Get The 11-pound 8-person Burger In Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Paul McCartney is worth over $1 billion
Sir Paul McCartney is one of the most celebrated and accomplished musicians in history. He just turned 76 on June 18. McCartney grew to international fame with the Beatles and went on to become a wildly successful solo musician. Paul McCartney’s net worth is estimated at $1.2 billion, according to Celebrity Net Worth. In 2017, McCartney landed the No. 13 spot on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid musicians, earning $54 million for the year. On Thursday, June 20, McCartney will release a double A-side single featuring two new songs, "I Don't Know" and "Come On to Me." McCartney has yet to announce a title of his new album or when it will be released. Th album is expected to be released before he headlines the Austin City Limits Music fest in October.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like