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
earlier this week we introduced you to dana of the blog summer teeth, who we asked to do a guest post for our blog. she came back to us with a beautiful batch of photos that she feels are free people inspired and infused. there are quite a few of them so we’ve decided to break them into groups, but keep in mind that they were carefully selected with a narrative in mind, so that the sequence of images tells a story. what’s the story? whatever you interpret it to be :)
so without further ado, here is part one of dana’s guest post!
you might remember back in our august catalog, we featured animals from the philadelphia animal welfare society (P.A.W.S.) in several of the photos. well, one of our facebook fans, rachel, saw this and told us about a really amazing project that she was working on as her bfa thesis.
read on to hear more about rachel’s project and see some of her beautiful photos of the absolutely adorable animals…and tell me it doesn’t make you want to go adopt one!
what inspired you to do start the 4 to 5 million project?
from an early age i grew up aware that there was a serious problem pertaining to the overpopulation of pets in the US. this project stemmed from a passionate desire to communicate my concerns and love for these animals and while doing so, use photography to help inform the public about this heartbreaking and serious problem.
what does 4 to 5 million mean?
every year approximately four to five million companion animals are euthanized. that amounts to 64% of all shelter animals around the country. the fact of the matter is, there are just too many pets and not enough homes.
rosie & sparky
how successful has the project been so far?
the project was extremely successful. it gained a lot of press for the shelters as well as for the specific dogs i featured in my photographs. the majority of which i have since been informed have found happy and loving homes. it also has provided people with new knowledge on this issue and with a variety of simple things that they can do to help.
who are your heroes?
the heroes who have had the greatest influence on who i am today are my parents. my father, a veterinarian and my mother, an artist, have too obviously, played a part on what i see through my lens.
do you have a pet?
i have many pets, always have, always will, all of which were rescues! my house currently is home to two rescue chihuahua mixes and a terrier mix named mickey, as well as two cats, a tuxedo named tux and a calico, feather.
what is your first memory of free people?
i first heard of free people when a model who participated in my project, saw your post about philly P.A.W.S. your plan to photograph the shelter animals with models was so similar to what i was doing that she passed on the video post to me. i admire that there are other people out there who are trying to do their part in helping spread the word about this problem. thank you free people!
Check out rachel’s website and blog to find out more about the project and see which animals have found happy homes thanks to rachel’s work!
thanks so much for sharing, rachel :)
some of you might be familiar with the awesome blog that is summer teeth…it is full of inspirational and fashionable images that always amaze me. we love it so much we decided to ask the awesome person behind the blog, dana, to do a guest post for our blog. but first, we wanted to know about her likes, dislikes, and more…read below to learn more about dana and stay tuned for her blog post later this week!
what is your first memory of free people?
age 15 or so. falling in love with, having to have, couldn’t leave behind so many of the free people tank tops and sweaters that i had a pile of about 20 in my arms. i was at the neighborhood loehmann’s (a discount mecca for the fashion-frenzied) and was dropping bits of clothing as i walked around the store.
what is the inspiration behind your blog?
my blog, as its been said before by many bloggers, started as a place to productively and effectively organize the thousands of images i had been accumulating in a few ‘inspiration’ folders on my computer. i comb the internet like a mad woman, and will save up to 20 photos to that folder a day. i had to find something that would make all the procrastinating from school work worthwhile! that, and for the last two years or so, i’ve been really trying to pick up photography. the best thing i’ve discovered for expanding your own aesthetic is by being exposed to the aesthetic of others. the blog was a way for me to compile this, and create a sort of inspiration board day by day.
what is your current state of mind?
expectant. i’m heading to a dirty projectors concert here in baltimore later tonight!
who are your heroes?
people who have the courage to go their own way, explore, be their own person, discover or at least hope to discover what makes them tick, and pursue it.
if you could choose what to come back to life as, what would you be?
this is a hard question! maybe a beautiful perennial flower. then, i could hide underground in the warm dirt during cold, wet months, regroup, and leap to life again every spring season. though the dying every winter thing might be tricky…
what or who is your greatest love?
john cusack, say anything.
name one thing necessary to your happiness.
things to look forward to (whether it’s a concert, going shopping, meeting up with friends, cooking some fancy and over-my-head recipe… etc.)
what do you hate the most?
cheese on pizza. and musicians who look horridly bored when performing in front of a crowd.
what would the name of your band be and what genre? what instruments do you play in this band?
summer teeth. oops! that’s the name of my blog… oops! that’s the name of a wilco album! actually, i really don’t know what i’d call it, but i think i’d design the sets and try and have a hand in the wardrobe of the band. i’m not so musically-endowed. But i do like to be surrounded by music.
what color are you?
iridescent. depends on which angle and in what light you look!
what is your motto?
don’t feel guilty for being a dreamer in a harsh world.
what is the one article of clothing you can’t live without?
this is much too hard. can i give three articles of clothing for this fall season instead? i’d say: well-fitting, worn-in jeans, my perforated oxford flats, and chunky knits (socks… sweaters… scarves).
we are loving lots and lots of layered jewelry…pile it onto the wrists and fingers to accessorize a simple outfit like a black dress to turn it into something rockin…
our accessories buyer shared some images that provided the inspiration behind this cool, eclectic look.
check out some amazing new accessories on our website.
stay tuned…we’ll be bringing you more of the inspiration behind our favorite looks in the future!
one of our new features on the blog is all about artists we love…whose work strikes us in a certain way and inspires us. this week i stumbled upon the work of joe ryckebosch, who uses found images of nature and wildlife and overlays them with brightly colored lines representing patterns he sees in nature that are invisible to the human eye.
joe answered some questions for me about the thought process behind his work…check out the interview and some of his artwork below!
where are you from?
i live and work in portland, or. i’m originally from a small town in southern california. i lived in the san francisco bay area for several years and it was there when i discovered the shapes and patterns that make up the work i produce today. my wife and i lived in nyc for a short spell, but it really didn’t work out very well (living in nyc). we moved to portland in 2007 and the change of scenery really inspired me to start the nature paths and wildlife analysis series in my art.
what is the inspiration behind memory screens of things seen and unseen?
i wanted to try and convey the idea that we sometimes remember or recall things a certain way and our minds have this strict idea of exactly how we saw it or perceived it, but that sometimes is not the case and these things, such as nature and wildlife, are not exactly that way and the entire time they had this sort of aura or life force surrounding them. in my work this life force becomes palatable in the shape of colored lines and patterns.
where do you find your nature imagery?
ahh, well i find these things all over the place. i like to take little trips on saturday morning up and then back down 82nd ave. (in portland) and stop at all the thrift stores along the way. there are about 4 of them and in my “rounds” i usually end up with a few good finds.
how do the “unseen patterns” come to you?
they just sort of pop out of an image as soon as i see it. It’s funny, i will walk into a place and see an image just sort of staring back at me. i instantly know if i can work with it and perhaps, hopefully, remix it to the way i see the patterns emerging.
can you explain the phrase “nature authors nature”?
well, i can provide an example: the water flows down the stream and feeds all life in its path. what if the water was really this colorful life source surging forth? it is not really a liquid anymore but rather a source of power, a necessary thing that will ultimately sustain life. nature then edits the way things really are, nature’s unseen editing will dictate and govern how things should and will be. i try and bring that to the foreground in my work.
who are your heroes?
hamish kilgour, jack k., william b., the ether spring, david r., jonathan ames, sara bir, and tony turano.
what does “free people” mean to you?
free to choose, free to live, free to think. un-inhibited and never afraid to try new things, despite oppressive factions and dictatorships.
memory screens of things seen and unseen is on display at half & half gallery in portland through november 1.
an old friend of mine is doing something really cool…
kael robinson is the founder of brazilets, a company that brings bracelets based on a 200-year-old tradition in brazil to countries all over the world. for years the bracelets have been worn throughout latin america, where it was believed that when the knots come undone and the bracelet falls off, your wishes will come true.
not only are the bracelets super cute (and they come in lots of fun colors), but 20% of all proceeds for selling the bracelets goes towards plant a billion trees, the nature conservancy’s campaign to restore the atlantic forest of brazil.
kael was nice enough to answer some questions for the fp blog.
where are you from?
i am from bryn mawr, pennsylvania.
when did you start brazilets?
i launched brazilets in august of 2008 and i launched live brazilian in august of 2009.
what inspired you to start the company?
i was inspired to start brazilets when I was given a brazilet as a gift. i made my three wishes on the braclelet and wore the bracelet for about 9 months until it fell off. when my ruby brazilet fell off in one month all three of my wishes came true. i thought if this can help me why not start selling brazilets to help other people around the world. so, i slowly started importing these bracelets from brazil, i went to brazil and met with manufacturers and went to the place where they originated,bahia brazil, and learned the history and found how amazing the culture is and the tradition of this 200-year-old tradition. i also wanted to donate back to brazil by preserving the amazon rainforest. so, i chose to donate a portion of our proceeds to plantabillion.com. since, then we have grown to have three distributors world wide and we have helped thousands of people have their wishes come true.
how successful have you been in your goal of protecting the amazon?
we have planted thousands of trees in the amazon and are trying to reach a goal of 1,000,000 by 2011.
what is the one article of clothing you can’t live without (besides brazilets!)?
i would have to say the one articles of clothing i can not live without are my sweatshirts! i love being comfortable and whether it is a worn old sweatshirt from high school or a new nice one that is a little dressier i can not live without it.
i love these photos of the bracelets from brazil:
check out the brazilets website here!
a few pix from around the office last week…