It might be the coolest form of marketing that you’ve never heard of – clean graffiti (or reverse graffiti) is an innovative, environmentally safe and eye catching technique to advertise or simply display art that has only been popularized in the last 8 to 10 years. Those who are looking for cheap alternatives to normal publicity and want to limit their environmental footprint in the process may want to take a deeper look at this cool artistic method. In the following few paragraphs we will discuss everything you need to know about the phenomenon that is clean graffiti.
What is it?
Clean graffiti is just like normal graffiti but with one major difference – no paint or colors are needed. How does this work? The artist simply finds a dirty wall, and cleans part of it to form a temporary art exhibit. Think of it like writing a phrase on a dirty car window by using your finger to clear dust out of the way. Clean graffiti artists can use their hands, brushes or even pressure washers depending on the scale of the work they are doing. One common technique for getting finer detail involves laying a stencil down on the surface and using a high powered washer to clean out the area which creates a work of art in just seconds. Inner cities are often coated with dirt and grime – essentially posing as a blank canvas for interested artists.
The exact origin of reverse graffiti is usually attributed to an English artist who simply goes by Moose. His work has gotten so well recognized that major corporations such as Microsoft and Smirnoff have used his skills to advertise through reverse graffiti methods. Many other household brand names have clean graffiti advertisements placed throughout the world. If you want to know more, check out Moose’s documentary.
Those who take notice of inner city streets, walls and tunnels may be a different crowd than the those who watch the 10PM news or visit art galleries. Life size art on buildings is photo worthy, many passers by will snap a shot on their smartphone and share it with friends which becomes free publicity as well – all with next to no impact on the environment. The potential for amazing clean graffiti projects to go viral is also rather high due to their nature and amazing creativity.
Is it legal?
Unlike traditional graffiti which is destructive in nature and frowned upon by legal circles, clean graffiti operates in a more legally ambiguous area. Technically, it is cleaning a public space, which is essentially impossible to prosecute in most areas. This form of advertising is also generally recognized as one of the most environmentally friendly as no ink or paper are involved whatsoever.
Some eye catching examples
Moose was responsible for one of the best examples of clean graffiti on the walls of San Francisco. Clean graffiti also has yielded amazing results on dirty car windows. A quick Google search will yield dozens more.
So, if you have a particularly dirty wall or other surface somewhere in your town and want to turn it into an eye catching piece of art (legally) you should think about bringing in a clean graffiti artist. That, or hire a professional like American Clean & Seal Surface Cleaning to come do the job. If nothing else, clean graffiti is bringing an awareness to just how many of our cities need to be properly cleaned.
What do you think about clean graffiti? Have any local examples to share? Let us know in the comments.