The Telegraph reports: “From now until April 16, a 370m2 artwork will be unfurled along the pathways and walls of London’s Southbank as a group of ‘clean artists’ use the area as a canvas and inspire Londoners to clean up the city in advance of the Olympic Games. Supported by cleaning product Flash and its parent company P&G (an Olympics sponsor), the initiative is headed by Moose Curtis.
In his forties, the ‘clean artist’ began tracing patterns and slogans onto dirtied surfaces in 1999 and has pioneered a ‘reverse-graffiti’ movement that now sees street artists worldwide draw attention to pollution and urban grime by cutting through muck to inscribe imagery on sullied surfaces. Their work is frequently confused with that of graffiti artists but is legal. Moose has been arrested but never faced any charges for the alterations he’s made to public spaces. As he explains it: “Criminal damage is when it costs money to return a body to its original state. If I was charged for cleaning something and returning part of it to its original state you’d need to arrest all the street cleaners in the country.”
This latest project will see Moose and his team dedicate up to 150 hours to selectively cleaning paths and buildings throughout the Southbank, after which point the area will be cleaned in its entirety. The most noticeable part of the artwork will dominate the side of the OXO2 building and shows a huge stick figure holding a broom aloft. Ironically, the building’s surface wasn’t dirty enough for the body to be sufficiently visible and so it was coated with a dirt-like substance which was then cleaned.
The event will be followed by a number of other related events, including the installation of temporary gardens and green spaces in major urban areas of London this summer. ”
Paul ‘Moose’ Curtis: The Art of Reverse Graffiti
Paul ‘Moose’ Curtis: The Art of Reverse Graffiti from Australian Broadcasting Corporation on FORA.tv
Paul Curtis (aka “Moose”) is a pioneering UK street artist and the creator of “reverse graffiti.” It’s form of “clean tagging” where, instead of marking walls with paint, he uses cleaning products to remove grime from urban spaces, leaving pictures or messages.
In this fascinating talk from the agIdeas Conference in Melbourne, Moose shares his street art ethos. Explaining how he works in “re-facing,” not “defacing,” and every mark he makes shows people how polluted the world is.
Curtis occasionally accepts advertising jobs, believing that at least his form of advertising doesn’t generate any additional waste. He was even hired by the UK police to make street ads for an anti-gun campaign. This didn’t stop the police from trying to arrest him for “criminal damages” two weeks later. To which he responded that he wasn’t making a mark, he was removing one and if they wanted to arrest someone they should arrest the polluters. Luckily he got off, so he could keep “collaborating” with the street cleaners with his unique style of graffiti.