Guerilla Gardening and More

Much of Toronto street artist Posterchild's work is right up my alley. Pun not intended, but incidentally much of his work does occur in alleys and other dark, underutilized, or ignored niches of his city. As he describes on his website, he began as a graffiti artist but never felt like he fit into that world. Gradually, he became engaged by the idea that "Authority over the visual landscapes of our cities has been placed out of reach to the very people who live in them," and his work aims to benevolently "involve himself in these shared public areas" in a way that "challenges the status quo."

I particularly like the fact that the ones below are planted in flyer bins that have graffiti on them... it makes the evolution of his work pretty ironic. In a good way!

I LOVE the idea of these "guerilla gardens" he has planted in flyer and newspaper boxes, which certainly qualify is Random Acts of Creativity. There is no heavy handed message whatsoever, and yet the effect of the unexpected burst of beauty physically integrated into a standard object of a gritty urban landscape, an object so seemingly intrinsic to the landscape that it merges into the subconscious and is no longer noticed, does serve as a catalyst for myriad reflections on the urban landscape, from issues of who creates it to how its constant stimuli affect us.

It also, to me, sends a subtle and hopeful message of empowerment. Not in any kind of revolutionary way, but just the idea that one person can make a street corner more beautiful, and that hundreds of people a day will notice it, is a happy one to me.

This little disco dance club scene inside of a newspaper stand is pretty clever as well... I may be speaking too broadly here in saying "we," but I personally think we never give up the idea of magic, and happening upon something like this at night would somehow make me feel like there really is magic in the world. Not in the Harry Potter sense, but in the sense that there is still wonder in the world. That you would see this thing, that has no apparent purpose, but that makes you smile and you may never know who did it or why.

I wrote my whole college thesis on the role of art and artists in the world, so I could go on and on about this, but for me, artists who create these kinds of Random Acts of Creativity are important to me for the sense of magic, or wonder, that they keep alive in our ever-increasingly cynical world.

Another example of his urban installations... a pretty fantastic use of a boarded up abandoned building.

As a final note, his work reminds me of one of Sophie Calle's pieces. She once chose a telephone booth in TriBeCa and cleaned it up and for a week stocked it with flowers, sodas, snacks, a notepad, pens, etc....

Love that.

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