ART
Mike Chino

REVERSE GRAFFITI: Clean Green Street Art hits San Francisco!

by , 06/18/08
filed under: Art, San Francisco, Urban design

Reverse Graffiti, Reverse Graffiti San Francisco, Reverse Graffiti Paul Curtis, Reverse Graffiti project, Greenworks Reverse Graffiti, San Francisco Broadway Tunnel Reverse Graffiti, San Francisco Broadway Tunnel eco-art, San Francisco environmental art, San Francisco Broadway Tunnel mural

Here’s one instance of green-washing that we’re 100% behind. The Reverse Graffiti Project imbues the guerrilla tactics of street-art with an eco-friendly element, detourning the definition of graffiti by actually cutting through and cleaning up grit to leave a lasting impression. You may remember Paul Curtis aka “Moose” from our coverage of Reverse Graffiti in the UK last year; we’re excited to announce that the Reverse Graffiti team recently teamed up with the eco cleaner brand GreenWorks to create a clean, green, 140 foot mural on the walls of San Francisco’s Broadway tunnel. The artist scraped through the grit and grime of the tunnel walls to reveal a stunning portrait of a lusher San Francisco, transforming the dingy tunnel sidewalls into a flourishing forest of native plants, providing an inverse reflection of how the site may have looked 500 years ago.

Reverse Graffiti, Reverse Graffiti San Francisco, Reverse Graffiti Paul Curtis, Reverse Graffiti project, Greenworks Reverse Graffiti, San Francisco Broadway Tunnel Reverse Graffiti, San Francisco Broadway Tunnel eco-art, San Francisco environmental art, San Francisco Broadway Tunnel mural

When asked to describe what he does, Paul Curtis says: “I make pictures by cleaning . . . I have this weird thing about dirty surfaces where I look around for it all the time; I am a professor of dirt”. A pioneer of the reverse graffiti movement, he aims to beautify our urban environments by taking advantage of the negative spaces that can be created by cutting through their grimy coats.

San Francisco’s Broadway Tunnel sees over 20,000 cars, trucks and motorized vehicles each day. As a result, “Its walls are caked with dirt and soot, and lined with patches of paint covered graffiti from days gone by.” Curtis approached the project with dozens of stencils, a high-pressure stream of water, and eco-friendly cleaning solutions provided by GreenWorks (which is the new eco arm of everyone’s favorite bleach company Clorox).

Working through the night with a team , Curtis created a beautiful work of public art that embraces the philosophy of clean: “… seeing how dirty a wall is by cleaning it in this way, it kind of gets people immediately . . . it’s just a cold realization that world is really, really dirty”. The installation is accompanied by a great film by acclaimed documentary filmmaker Doug Pray.

We found it especially weird (but sort of sweet and inspiring) to see a giant traditional company like Clorox supporting renegade eco street art. Nevertheless, the fit between the sponsor brand (a cleaner company) and the project (a public street-art cleaning project) is undeniably perfect. We hope to see more forward thinking companies like GreenWorks take the lead in supporting innovative public art projects in the future.

+ Reverse Graffiti Project

Tip via Carter Hamilton and Bunnie

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7 Comments

  1. kristianjeffrey September 14, 2011 at 6:32 am

    That’s a nice use of Clean Graffiti to create Clean Advertising. Much nicer than looking at dirty spaces all day.
    We have created hundreds of Clean Advertising campaigns for clients in europe over the last three years. It’s the least destructive method of outdoor advertising and we use some of the revenues from the campaigns to support a tree growing campaign of our own.
    http://streetadvertisingservices.com/Clean-Advertising-Gallery(567912).htm

  2. kaka April 2, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    oh.no..
    that’s beautiful

  3. Burpotron June 22, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Silly everybody knows when you\’re done with a Brita filter you kill it and feed it to a much more powerful Pur filter, then when the Pur filter dies you cut it open and sprinkle its goodness over cereal or make soup and use the blue plastic skin to make really soft condoms. What can be greener than that?

  4. derro June 22, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    yes it will be great So a group of us have started a campaign: Take Back The Filter (http://www.resim.org) to urge Clorox to create a take-back reyclling program for its Brita filters, just as the original Brita company is already doing in Europe. Please sign our petition, send us your used filters (there is an address in Oakland — you’ll find it on the web site) and spread the word!

  5. freakyemerican June 21, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    That is a really cool thing! :D

  6. dianejwright June 19, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    I know a tunnel here in LA for which this would be perfect. Driving the 110 as you connect with the 5…I’ve long admired the more crude reverse graffiti happening there already. This would be so great. Who’s the LA city person to pay for this guy to come for a visit? What’s their job title? I’ll call them up.
    /djw

  7. FakePlasticFish June 19, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Wow. I love this. Will have to take a look at it before it gets dirty again.

    But also just wanted to say that while Clorox is cleaning up its act in some areas, it will has some work to do. You know how they’re trying to get everyone to give up bottled water and instead buy a Brita filter? Well, what happens to all those plastic Brita filters at the end of their lives? Landfill. Not so clean.

    So a group of us have started a campaign: Take Back The Filter (http://www.takebackthefilter.org) to urge Clorox to create a take-back reyclling program for its Brita filters, just as the original Brita company is already doing in Europe. Please sign our petition, send us your used filters (there is an address in Oakland — you’ll find it on the web site) and spread the word!

    Thanks!
    Beth Terry
    Oakland, CA

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