There is a new form of street art emerging all over the US and UK called environmental graffiti. To do it requires precision in design by hand or on computer, and a skill in art when you execute the graffiti on the street.
What it is is cleaning a dirty surface in the shape or design of art or advertising. It is also referred to as reverse graffiti in that instead of dirtying a surface with paint you are cleaning the surface, leaving the dirtyness. Let’s take a look at how you can design your own reverse graffiti, leaving your mark on the street. And also how companies are taking advantage of it to perform very affordable and “legal” advertising in public spaces. This may spark new business ideas in your head in terms of designing these stencils for people…
The general steps outlined below are: designing the stencil, performing the reverse graffiti on the street and general rules to know about.
1.) Making a Stencil
The easiest, fastest and most affordable way to perform reverse graffiti is to create a stencil out of cardboard. The stencil is what you place on the surface and when you clean the surface with a power washer you are only cleaning the art you designed on the stencil. With cardboard you can do it all yourself at home with minimal equipment. However, the finished stencil may not be cut out perfectly. Nonetheless a good option for your first reverse graffiti.
A more expensive but more precise option is to just create your design on paper or computer and then pay a company to cut you a stencil out of sheet metal. This is the most precise way and gives you ultimate control over the design of your art. It will cost a few hundred dollars; however, to get it cut on a laser cutter.
Now there are some that argue a stencil is cheating. And that the true artists have a design in their head that they create on the wall or surface in real time with the jet wash.
Up to you.
2.) Getting the Right Equipment
Once you have designed your stencil and created it by hand or with the laser cutter option you’ll need to get some basic gear to create the art on the street. You could hire a pressure washing company in your state or rent a pressure washer and do the work yourself. Probably cheaper to rent one yourself. And they’re not hard to use. Along with that you’ll need a water source – either a nearby tap or water tank. And lastly you’ll need some safety goggles, long pants and closed in shoes to ensure safety.
Now all you have to do is find a dirty plot of concrete or side of building, place your stencil and use your Briggs & Stratton power washer to clean the surface you stenciled out.
Most of the work is in designing and creating the stencil. The pressure cleaning only takes a few minutes.
If you say there is no art skill to this think again. Have a look at this picture of batman made via reverse graffiti.
Laws and Implications
So I think we all know that street graffiti is illegal. You are defacing a property not owned by you. But what about reverse graffiti. All you’re doing is cleaning the surface in the shape of art. It must be legal right?
Well, in general, it is. In fact, there isn’t really any laws about it since it is so new. The determining factor is the fact that once you leave the art only remains for a few days until washed away. So you’re all safe.
Go create some reverse graffiti today!