For decades, authorities treated subway graffiti like it was a sanitation issue. Gunn believed that graffiti was a symptom of larger systemic problems. After all, trains were derailing nearly every two weeks. In 1981 there were 1,800 subway car fires -- that's nearly five a day, every day of the year!
When Gunn launched his "Clean Trains" program, it was not only about cleaning up the trains aesthetically, but making them function well, too. Clean trains, Gunn believed, would be a symbol of a rehabilitated transit system.
A big list of Pompeian graffiti proves that the writing in bathroom stalls and tourist attractions hasn't changed much in a few millennia. You know, there's a lot of, "Antiochus hung out here with his girlfriend Cithera." There's some, "To the one defecating here. Beware of the curse. If you look down on this curse, may you have an angry Jupiter for an enemy." And then my absolute favorite, "Weep, you girls. My penis has given you up. Now it penetrates men's behinds. Goodbye, wondrous femininity!" (via @cordjefferson)
Last week, graffiti "artist" Kidult painted the word ART in pink paint all over the Marc Jacobs store in Soho. The store's staff cleaned it up, but not before snapping a photo of it and dubbing it Art by Art Jacobs. And then, in an awesome twist, Marc Jacobs put the photo on a tshirt and offered it for sale: $689 or $9 less if you want it signed by the "artist". The Observer's Foster Kamer has the story.
Jacobs, in this situation, has made one hell of a commentary about the absurd commoditization that some street art has yielded, and how easily ostensibly subversive art can actually be subverted, facile as it so often is, and it may be the best take on the matter since Exit Through The Gift Shop.
I'm going to pay for those quotation marks with lots of email and tweets, aren't I?
I've come across comments or stories written about Hanksy saying I'm directly ripping off Banksy's style. Like, "Where does this guy get off, stealing Banksy's work?" They are completely missing the point. It's a satire. My goal was never to make a profit. It came about and there was a genuine excitement around the people at the gallery and the community in general.
I'm pretty sure the interviewer, EA Hanks, is Tom's daughter and she got her dad on the record about Hanksy:
Regarding your work, Tom Hanks sends the message, "I don't know who Hanksy is, but I enjoy his (her?) comments via the semi-chaos of artistic expression."
I hope that every time Jay leaves the house, he sees these posters -- and as he looks at them or tries to tear them down he thinks about how evil what he did was. Maybe he'll realize that at some level all art borrows from other art, and suing another artist for fair use appropriation undermines all artists. Maybe he'll feel guilty about being such a thief. And then maybe he'll think about giving that money back -- or donating it to charity or something. But probably not.
Something tells me this isn't going to end well. (via @jakedobkin)
A tree in Baltimore recently was bestowed with its sweater for the colder months. Local knitters constructed a garment specifically for the tree, with the only restriction being that they had to use white, green, and purple yarn. The latest sweater replaces last year's style, which was removed for the dog days.
"We actually made a little bikini for it for the summer, but it fell apart."
The sweater tree is an example of a growing urban phenomenon called yarn bombing, aka yarnstorming or graffiti knitting. Yarn bombing is believed to have its roots in Texas, where it was invented as a way for knitters to creatively utilize their unfinished knitting projects. Common targets are telephone poles, trees, and banisters, but in Mexico City, yarn bombers aimed their knitting needles at a more ambitious endeavor: a yarn-covered bus.
Update: It appears that yarnbombing has reached the streets of Dunsborough, a fairly rural area of Western Australia. Wrapped, a collective of knitters between the ages of 8 and 87, has taken over the streets with their purled pieces. In September, the group got together and crafted wraps, pom-poms, and finger knittings that are being placed on signs, trees, and poles by a group of "knitting taggers" during the month of October. Their goal is to promote knitting events in the area, and to make a difference in the community by spreading woolly good will. The sweater swaths have tags affixed that direct the viewer to their website where they outline the project.
A collection of quirky toilet signage. And for what to read after you've latched that door, there are several sites dedicated to writing found on the walls of bathroom stalls. (Warning: most of it does contain language that falls soundly in the "potty mouth" category.)
Please Do Not Throw Toothpicks in The Urinals The Crabs can Pole Vault.
Monarchs regularly pass through wide swathes of human settlement as they migrate each year from wintering sites in Mexico to summering grounds in the United States and Canada. GFB is the equivalent of a fast-food sign on a highway, advertising rest stops (waystations) to monarchs traveling through the area.
The Image Fulgurator is an ingenious device that detects the flash from nearby cameras and quickly inserts a message onto whatever is being photographed so that it shows up in any photos being taken.
It operates via a kind of reactive flash projection that enables an image to be projected on an object exactly at the moment when someone else is photographing it. The intervention is unobtrusive because it takes only a few milliseconds. Every photo another photographer takes of an object at which the Fulgurator is also aimed is affected by the manipulation. Hence visual information can be smuggled unnoticed into the images of others.
Graffiti Research Lab built their own camera rig to capture bullet time photography (a la The Matrix) for $5000-$8000. Here are the instructions to build your own and the music video they made using the rig.
Update:The Brooklyn Paper is reporting that DJ 10 Fingers subdued the suspected Splasher before he could light his stink bomb. (No, seriously!) The would-be stink bomber is facing a possible 15 years in jail.
Laser Tag is a new project from Graffiti Research Lab. The idea is that you use a high-powered laser pointer to trace a pattern on the side of a building, a camera captures that pattern, some software processes the capture, and a projector displays the graffiti-ized pattern back onto the side of the building, more or less in real-time. The effect is pretty cool. The process and source code are available here.
At the beginning of the conference, sketchbooks were distributed to every attendee. We were urged to sketch our thoughts during the sessions & panels in our books and then tape the results onto the Sketch Wall in the Design Fair. As I was too busy typing into my virtual sketchbook (plus, I can't draw), I left the drawing to others, but I did head down to the Design Fair to see what other attendees had done. Here's a couple I found interesting:
In addition to the sketches, the wall was also being utilized more generally for graffiti, both written (with marker and paint) and created with the tape used to fasten the sketches to the wall. Here's a favorite bit of tape graffiti (tapeffiti?):
Wow, how to make moss graffiti. "Soon the bits of blended moss should begin to re-couperate into a whole rooted plant - maintaining your chosen design before eventually colonising the whole area." Again, wow!