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.
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.
Tip via Carter Hamilton and Bunnie