Reverse Graffiti Favorite 

Practitioner: 

Date: 

Nov 29 2008

Reverse graffiti is form of street art that involves carving into the dirt and dust that surrounds us. Artists subtract from a surface in order to create a negative image within the positive, often quite dark layer of grime. They use methods as simple as dragging their finger across a dirty car window or as elaborate as carving elaborate stencils, which they then mount on a surface and spray with a high pressure water hose, to impress a finely wrought illustration or message. Reverse graffiti is a form of activist art, in that the work often draws attention not only to a particular image etched into a surface, but also the extent to which these surfaces - and our cities - are caked with pollution. 


 Moose told Richard Morgan of the New York Times Magazine that he preferred the "less sinister" terms "clean tagging" or "grime writing" to "reverse graffiti." He explains: 

 "It's refacing," he says, "not defacing. Just restoring a surface to its original state. It's very temporary. It glows and it twinkles, and then it fades away."
To pay for industrial scrubbers, he has sold some of his reverse graffiti as advertising. But mostly he sticks to his own art. Critics, like the City Council in Leeds, have accused him of breaking the law, but for what? Cleaning without a permit? "Once you do this," he says, "you make people confront whether or not they like people cleaning walls or if they really have a problem with personal expression."

Watch "Moose" in action here:

Posted by LTomasetti on

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