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!
good morning…how about some pretty photos to start your day? these pictures were taken by our reader sarah, who attended the treasure island music festival in san francisco a couple of weeks ago. she was nice enough to share them with the blog, and they’re fantastic…
and here’s sarah and her friends out and about in san francisco…
looks like you had a blast…thanks sarah!
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).
“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…”
– jack kerouac
have a magical monday…
image from flickr.
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.
a new exhibit went up this week at gallery 543, the gallery in building 543 where our cafeteria is located. it’s such a beautiful space on its own, but having artwork on display makes it even better.
the new exhibit features the work of mark khaisman, who we’ve posted about before. he uses packaging tape to create these awesome portraits that play with the tactile nature of the tape and the familiarity of the images he creates.
i think they’re cool because up close all i can see are the lines of tape, but as you distance yourself the images reveal themselves.
gallery 543 started out as a way to showcase the artistic talent of employees here at the home office, but has grown to include local artists and institution shows, with installations rotating every 4-6 weeks. the current exhibit will run through december 1st, monday through friday, 9am-6pm.
after seeing all the fall florals on our website, I was inspired to go around the office in search of flowers. i found way too many to post…but here are some pretty ones.
they actually look very spring-like, which is fitting for this warm sunny day in philly.
“be not the slave of your own past. plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep and swim far, so you shall come back with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.”
– ralph waldo emerson
image via ffffound.