Reverse graffiti – friend or foe?

Pic taken from the Reverse Graffiti Project websiteIn my travels around the worldwide web this morning, I came across a very intriguing art form I’d never heard of before – reverse graffiti. This involves taking to the city streets and finding a disgusting, grime-covered surface on which to etch any number of designs, murals and tags, using a raft of materials ranging from wire brushes to detergents.

The pioneer of this movement is Moose, also known as Paul Curtis, an English graffiti artist who has been enjoying creating legal graffiti for the last decade – some of his work, which he first began making using a pair of socks, might be seen in Leeds, if the local council hasn’t removed it, while a trip to San Francisco to see if you can find any might be a good move as well.

In 2008 he came across Frisco’s Broadway tunnel, a road that acts as a thoroughfare for more than 20,000 cars, trucks and bikes each day and whose walls are caked in dirt and soot, providing the tagger with an ideal canvas on which to explore his art.

Now, this probably all sounds like a very worthwhile pursuit – after all, graffiti artists are constantly in the firing line for defacing public property (even Banksy’s had his knuckles wrapped and his work removed from walls, although probably before his pictures were worth hundreds of thousands of pounds), and now through their impressive skill and imagination, they’re not only improving the face of cities with interesting works of art, but emphasising a much bigger problem than graffiti, that of pollution.

However, some local councils aren’t of this opinion and consider dust tagging to be just as much a blight on society as its spray can counterpart. Apparently, Leeds council has had a problem with Moose’s creative output in the past and accused him of breaking the law – although the practice is apparently above board – but this is what he had to say on the matter: “You make people confront whether or not they like people cleaning walls – or if they really have a problem with personal expression.”

So what say you? Is reverse graffiti the scourge of society or does it serve a higher purpose? Let me know your thoughts.

Get this:

35 Greatest Works of Reverse Graffiti – check out the works of Alexandre Orion and Scott Wade.

Reverse Graffiti – if you want something done right, these are your guys.

Instructables – keen to try it out for yourself? Why not use a pressure washer?

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