these days more and more artists are coming up with new media and materials to create art that is unique and unexpected, so it was only a matter of time before artists started working with mud. but jesse graves, an artist based in milwaukee wisconsin, has taken it a step further by using mud to create stencil artwork that puts environmentally conscious messages in public spaces…so in his own way, he’s using earth in order to protect the earth…which is a very cool concept, i think.
msr = mud stencils rule.
according to jesse, “i use mud or earth because it is a fundamental life-giving substance, logical for my messages. mud stencils are an evolving medium, intended for art and social justice, not corporate advertisement. i see preserving and improving the environment we live in as all encompassing. the world is composed of interconnected systems or cycles. everything is connected, and every choice we make matters.”
here’s a look at some of jesse’s stencils and the meanings behind them.
“to me, industrial farming means agriculture on a massive scale that typically includes the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, genetically modified foods, erosion, and soil degradation. industrial farming is happening worldwide, it is reducing crop variety, eradicating traditional farming methods, and harming the health of animals (including humans). this mud stencil is a call to action. beat back industrial farming by supporting small sustainable farms and gardens.”
“my original idea for this piece was to relate it to growing your own food. i enjoy gardening, and i want to share the joy i find in the sustainability of growing my own food. i considered writing “garden” with the plant letters, but eventually decided on “grow”. i wanted this piece’s meaning to be more ambiguous and personal to the viewer, instead of a bold statement like some of my other pieces.”
“wild food is plants and animals that are not farmed, grown, or raised for human consumption. wild food is nutritious, and finding it makes you more aware of your environment. wild food is all around us, even in urban environments, most just overlook it and disregard it as weeds and nuisances.”
“to deal with the infections cows are fed antibiotics which end up in the milk and meat produced by industrially raised cattle. this is just one of the many problems with industrial farming. corporations do not care about the health and well-being of the animals they imprison or and people that eat those animals.”
“why do people drink bottled water when perfectly potable, perfectly healthy tap water is readily available? in places without clean drinking water, bottled water makes sense; everywhere else, it does not. it takes oil to make the plastic and packaging for bottled water, and even more oil to transport them. more oil is used to recycle the plastic, unless the used bottles are filling up landfills instead.”
“free can mean a lot of things. hopefully this stencil means something to you. to me this piece is about how great it is to ride a bike. for myself commuting via bicycle means i am free from oil and free from the confinements of an auto. sadly while biking in a city i am not free from rude motorists, and the exhaust autos spew.”
i like this last one…obviously, the notion of freedom is something that we feel strongly about here at free people :)
to learn more about jesse and his mud stencils, visit his website: mudstencils.com