Street art and revolution: “It’s beautiful. It’s spreading everywhere.”

By Simon of Revolutionary Initiative.

In his Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art, Mao said that revolutionaries and specialists in the arts should pay attention to the art  produced by the masses, whether it be literature, drama, music, visual art or reporting in village level newspapers.  Street art would be no exception.

The importance of street art to the people comes through in the following film about revolutionary graffiti in Egypt.  Contrary to the view promoted by the state and the bourgeoisie that street art is vandalism and a threat to public safety, an artist describes how revolutionary murals gives oppressed communities a sense of pride and solidarity.

More revolutionary Egyptian street art can be found on the facebook group Revolution Graffiti.

Street art is also not limited to traditionally painted murals.  Street artists around the world are also constantly innovating new practices to communicate with the people.  Let’s look at some examples.

First up, reverse graffiti.

Reverse graffiti is done by removing dirt and grime from a surface using water and rags or scrub brushes or a power washer to create an image.  This has the advantage of being difficult to get arrested for.  Watch as the authorities scratch their heads and try to come up with a way to arrest someone for voluntary selective street cleaning.  The worst they could do is finish the job.

Next, moss graffiti.

Moss graffiti works by blending moss with a liquid food medium such as yogurt, beer, or buttermilk and a bit of sugar.  Some recommend adding a bit of potters clay.  There are various recipes and guides online (such as here).  Locations for successful growth are restricted to damp, shaded areas and porous surfaces such as brick, concrete, or wood.

Stencil graffiti has the advantage of being fast to put up and easy to reproduce.  One option is the paper bag trick:

Get a paper bag.  Cut out the bottom of the bag, leaving enough of the bottom intact to act as a frame for the stencil.  Place the stencil in the bottom of the bag.  Line the inside of the bag and affix the stencil with clear packing tape to prevent paint bleeding through.  Alternately, cut the stencil directly out of the bottom of the bag.

A whole host of other methods can be found at Stencil Revolution.

For an especially “First World” method: Laser graffiti or laser tagging.

All software is open source.  Check out Graffiti Research Lab for info.

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