The Real Deal New York

Brooklyn landlord sues city over $15K Shepard Fairey mural fine

Obama "Hope" artist painted 556 Driggs in 2014
July 20, 2017 09:00AM

The 556 Driggs mural

A Brooklyn landlord is suing the city over a $15,000 fine for putting a Shepard Fairey mural on her building’s wall.

The landlord, Jean Sausa, hired Fairey, who is famous for creating the Obama Hope image, to paint a mural on 556 Driggs Avenue in 2014. She removed it after the Department of Buildings fined her $15,000. The mural included an image from an album cover for the band Interpol, and the DOB argued that it constituted illegal outdoor advertising.

Sousa contested the fine and got it waived. But the city appealed and won in March. Now Sousa is suing. “Was Andy Warhol trying to sell Campbell’s Soup?” her lawyer argued, contesting the city’s advertising claim.

Fairey settled a copyright lawsuit with the Associated Press in 2009, which alleged he had used the news agency’s photo without permission. [NYP]Konrad Putzier