Picture analysis: Reverse Graffiti

Though graffiti is often pointed at as being illegal and mere vandalism, it can also be used as a powerful tool to address environmental, societal and political issues and, at the same time, to raise awareness.You will firstly learn about reverse graffiti and its goals. Then, you will watch a video and read an article to learn more about street artists’ strategies for denouncing the scourges of our modern world.

Despite its bad reputation, graffiti can have a strong, positive impact on people and on society. You will now discover what reverse graffiti is and understand its impact.

Here is an example of reverse graffiti

  1. Here is an example of reverse graffiti.

    Reverse graffiti is also known as clean graffiti, green graffiti or even clean advertising. It is a creative method consisting in creating temporary images on walls by removing dirt from its surface using a piece of cloth or a high-power washer. Reverse graffiti has sometimes been used for advertising but it is also used by artists such as Moose to deliver specific messages.

  2. This clean graffiti focuses on a dirty means of transport: cars.
  3. What message do you think is conveyed by these graffiti?                                                                                                                                  The street artist clearly sees himself as an activist. His artwork is like a protest to catch people’s attention here, passers-by or onlookers. His work of art targets climate change and global warming. He aims at inducing people to join his cause. He expects people to get involved and change habits and mentalities.

‘Reverse graffiti’ highlights traffic pollution in cities

Graffiti artist creates mural from London pollution to highlight need for cleaner transport

By Sophie Yeo 

It may come as a surprise to Londoners to learn that not all walls are actually black.

Air pollution is the problem that a “reverse graffiti” artist is seeking to highlight in a new London mural, created by washing away the dirt ingrained in the city’s walls.

London has the worst air pollution in the UK, causing around 3,000 people to die prematurely every year. Recently, the air on Oxford Street was found to have the highest recorded levels of pollutant NOx on the planet. The primary culprit is London traffic, which spews particulate matter over the city’s busiest streets, turning them black.

Today, street artist Moose unveiled a new 10-metre long mural in Waterloo, depicting London’s famous landmarks including Buckingham Palace, the Shard, Battersea Power Station and the London Eye.

The work was commissioned by Nissan to highlight the benefit of electric cars like its LEAF model in creating cleaner cities. And the image was drawn with a pressure washer powered by the LEAF’s car battery.

“I’ve been using reverse graffiti for fifteen years now, in fact I named it,” said Moose.

“My whole ethos is about highlighting the amount of pollution we endure daily using a very positive harmless method that never fails to ask questions about what we accept and what we shouldn’t accept in our environment.”

Video: Graffiti : art or vandalism ?

CBS news report on the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

Watch the video, give the aim of the report and and sum up the main ideas.

Text analysis: ‘Brandalism’ street art takes aim at advertising

Drawing inspiration from the long history of protest art, a group of guerrilla street artists have set about reclaiming urban space from advertisers and the big brands they represent. They call it “Brandalism.”In five cities across the UK, artists have been busy reclaiming public space one billboard at a time.By re-appropriating just 37 of the 100,000 billboards in the UK, the Brandalism project has caused quite a stir. The Outdoor Media Centre which represents outdoor advertisers has vowed to quash the project as quickly as possible.But Brandalism activists have other ideas.Simon Templeton and Joe Elan head the group behind the Brandalism project – one of the largest reclamations of outdoor advertising space in UK history.They’re using art as a form of self defence to “challenge the dominance and authority, and also the legitimacy of the advertising industry,” Elan explained at the TEDx “Crossing Borders” conference in Berlin last week.“It’s our public space as well. You have a choice when you read a magazine, turn on the television, or turn on the radio. On the internet you can block it out if you want. Whereas in the public realm there’s no choice to opt out,” Joe Elan said

Brandalism isn’t about targeting any one brand in particular: it’s about a critical assessment of the advertising industry as a whole. That includes “the environmental repercussions from this unchecked kind of consumerist frenzy that is encouraged,” Elan said.The 26 international artists involved in the Brandalism project tackle a range of issues from debt and propaganda, to climate change, consumer and cultural values.UK artist Hannah Adamaszek’s work addresses the issue of body image in relation to the widespread use of underweight models in advertising. Her work depicts an emaciated woman surrounded by splashes of pink and red impressions of beauty. Adamaszek chose to take part in the Brandalism project because she was inspired by its aim to address the destructive role of the advertising industry on society. Like Elan and Templeton, she hopes that Brandalism can help initiate discussion and social change around a range of issues.

Cinnamon Nippard , Deutsche Welle, 2012

Summary of the text

A group of 26 artists disagree with all the development of billboards in British cities. So they use brandalism to reclaim billboards to cover adverts for brands with art pieces. It was not a large scale operation and this operation was conducted without the assent of outdoor advertisers union. Thus (ainsi) / Indeed the brandalism project was set up to oppose the advertising industry. Thanks to it, its founders want the public to have the choice not to see advertisements.

Brandalism targets any advertisements. The artists don’t attack brands to take their place on the billboards. They just want to address serious issues like climate change. Let’s take the example of Hannah Adamaszek who is part of this anti-advertising movement to protest about the fake body image spread by advertisers.

In A Parallel Universe