there once was an artist who really wanted to encourage the neighborhood to get to know each other. so, he decided to help them. he gathered all of the neighborhood doormats and brought them to a gallery. the neighbors were stumped by the mysterious thievery. then, each neighbor received an invitation to come and get their property. later, they arrived at the gallery and saw that their doormats were much prettier together than apart. they began to talk and get to know each other – at least i hope that is how it turned out for the sake of kevin harman, the artist behind the installation…
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
in need of halloween plans for the weekend? here are a few suggestions going on this weekend…
…in new york:
the 36th annual village halloween parade takes place on saturday from 7 to 11 pm on the avenue of the americas between spring and 21st streets. the annual parade is open to any costumed member of the public and features live bands, enormous puppets, dancers, visual artists and revelers from all walks of new york city life.
tonight check out a very halloween-ish lineup of bands, including a place to bury strangers, dead confederate and all the saints, playing at the middle east upstairs (472 mass ave in cambridge). show starts at 8pm, tickets $12.
the monsters of folk are playing tonight at the auditorium theater (50 e. congress), at 7:30pm. or catch a screening of the rocky horror picture show, tonight and tomorrow night at midnight at the music box. the screening includes a pre-show dance party and costume contest.
…in los angeles:
on saturday night lacma will hold their popular annual halloween party, with this year’s theme inspired by the current exhibit heroes and and villains: the battle for good in india’s comics. the event includes extended hours, live music, djs spinning, complimentary cocktails and, of course, a costume contest (previous winners included an ostrich and centaur).
…and last but not least, in philly (in case you aren’t attending pearl jam or the world series…)
a bowling costume party! the 5th annual vampire and vixens halloween party at lucky strike (1338 chestnut st, center city). $10 in advance or $15 at the door and includes one free drink and entry in the costume contest. vip tickets are $30 in advance and $40 at the door, and get you open bar from 9-12pm and exclusive access to the vip floor.
or, just head over to the infamous eastern state penitentiary on friday and saturday night with terror behind the walls, when the prison becomes a massive haunted house. the tour starts at 7pm and costs $30.
i’ve lived in philly my whole life and have never done this because i’ve heard it’s that scary.
photos from the village halloween parade, taken by joe marquez.
the other day i posted some ideas for decorating pumpkins that don’t involve carving, and one of our readers sent these photos of some awesome painted pumpkins that i just had to share…read jennifer’s comment and check out the pumpkins below!
for the past 5 years I’ve been painting pumpkins for andy’s pumpkin express. myself and about 20 other artists from the state paint the pumpkins and they get sold at the event in brick NJ. 100% of the proceeds go to the diabetes fund. pumpkins are done in acrylic paint. every artist there has a specialty pretty much; theres landscape painters, portrait painters ect. i’m more of the animals/movie poster painter, and every year i do another led zeppelin pumpkin.
thanks for sharing jennifer, your pumpkins rock! especially the led zeppelin one :)
check out the website, www.pumpkinexpress.org.
i just posted yesterday about the very admirable work our reader rachel is doing to help shelter animals, so it seems fitting to post about this event taking place tomorrow in philly…
PAWS will hold their 3rd annual mutt strut tomorrow at FDR park, which is a 1.5 mile walk through the park to raise funds and awareness for PAWS and their efforts to save shelter animals. it’s just $25 to register, and you can bring your dog but you don’t have to have one. they had the option to sign up to walk with a PAWS dog but the response was so overwhelming that all the dogs are taken!
the best part is, dozens of PAWS dogs will be at the event…meaning you could meet your new best friend and give it the loving home it needs.
3rd annual PAWS mutt strut – saturday october 31, FDR park (1900 pattison avenue, across from the sports complex)
check-in/registration begins at 10am; start strutting at 11am!
for more info on PAWS, philadelphia’s ONLY no-kill animal rescue organization, visit their website.
photos of last year’s mutt strut from monster minders.