Shepard Fairey's connection to Nice Slice goes back to meeting Al Read in 1988 during the first week of his freshman year at RISD. Shep saw Al and his friend Mondo, who were sophomores, walking with skateboards on campus. Shep went up to them and asked if there were any half-pipes to skate in Providence and Al gave me a dismissive “uh, no.” However, he ran into Al and Mondo again a week later while street skating late at night, and they seemed impressed with his skills. In fact, Al asked if Shepard wanted to ride the half-pipe at his house! He reminded Al that he’d just told him a week before he didn’t know of ANY ramps in the area, much less his own, and he simply told him he had to make sure Shepard “wasn’t a kook” first!
Shepard talks about his long relationship with Al:
When Al founded Nice Slice in 2005, he asked if I wanted to take a crack at a logo design. I owed Al big time, so I did a couple of logos, and he liked one. He got a bunch of our other RISD friends to do sticker and box designs as well as doing a bunch of stuff himself. Al is loyal. In 2009 when I was doing my first solo museum show at the Boston ICA, Al made the hour drive several times to bring pizza to my crew and me. One day we headed to Providence and did a wheat-pasted mural in Nice Slice. Al was thankful, but actually, I was getting prime real estate in the coolest spot on hip Thayer Street in Providence.Nice Slice, refusing to become soulless and blend in with the increasingly homogenized neighborhood, has opted to pull up and move its magic and mastery to the West Side of Providence. The Angela Davis mural is moving too. In their new digs, real pizza, a resistance to mediocrity and the renegade spirit of Nice Slice will once again soar.
I found out recently that Nice Slice is being evicted from that space prematurely by a greedy landlord as he and his partner Rob are working to open a new Nice Slice in a more “up-and-coming” area further west, not far from my old studio. The Nice Slice “Spirit of Independence” print is being released to celebrate and support Nice Slice. 100% of profits will go to moving and transition expenses for Nice Slice. Where else are you gonna get traditional and exotic varieties… including vegan?
Spirit of Independence. 18 x 24 inches. Screen print on cream Speckle Tone paper. Signed by Shepard Fairey. Numbered edition of 400. $45. 300 available Thursday, April 13 at 10AM (PDT) on ObeyGiant.com in Store under Prints and 100 available at Nice Slice (in-store only) on Saturday, April 15.