Posts Tagged ‘design

02
May
10

Street charettes and crumbling concrete

Where to go from here? That’s a question which I’ve been asking myself for a good couple of months.

As you already know, I’ve written a fair bit over the past few months about the potential for a merger of street art and urban design or planning. I’m currently an urban planning student working towards a graduate degree in the field, and I’ve been dwelling on the topic of how to merge my hobby with my future profession for almost two years now. The field of planning is unfortunately too much of a formal and stilted one, and it needs to have some life breathed into it…

I’ve also featured a number of awesome streetart projects (like the Urban Repair Squad) that draw attention to urban problems and others that take a DIY-style approach to fixing some of them in a creative and interesting way.
(I’ve recently discovered the photography and urban installations of Claudia Ficca and David Luciano, in which creative uses are made of some of Montreal’s many potholes. Check it out)

(photo by rllayman on Flickr, from Ficca and Luciano’s “Pothole” exhibition.)

One issue which I’m interested in exploring this summer is the potential for street pieces to gather public input and ideas on future civic plans, expansions and repairs. I’ve got a couple ideas for streetart charettes buzzing around in the far corners of my mind, and I’ll see what comes of them as the next couple of days or weeks go by. As well, Montreal is a city in a constant state of disrepair, with some parts (like the crumbling Turcot Interchange) in a more advanced and unpleasant state than others. Crumbling infrastructure almost seems to scream out for a cheeky Banksyesque stencil or wheatpaste intervention or two. More to come…

15
Mar
10

Street Art meets transportation planning

You’d think that something so formal as the urban planning process and something so simple, decentralized and informal as streetart wouldn’t mesh too well together, right? Well, one way in which streetart can integrate itself into the planning process is as a means of raising awareness of important societal issues. The long tradition of pranksterism lends itself well to social pressure, as the Yes Men and their many media stunts show.

Have you heard of the Urban Renewal Squad? They’re a Toronto-based group which uses streetart as a means of raising awareness of cycling issues and problems, and they’ve pulled off some impressive work in the last couple of months… such as a modifying of a City of Toronto logo to include a cyclist and pedestrian and a strategic pothole stencilling campaign.

Very interesting stuff that reminds me of the work of Roadsworth and creates a whole lot of potential for new street art campaigns. What do you think, my dear readers? Streetart and graf’s prankster roots offer a great position for social commentary without getting into the territory of excruciatingly in-your-face annoying political commentary that many of us, including me, hate. Writing a political slogan on a wall is so much easier than pulling off a clever, well-thought-out piece of graf or street art. And it’s a lot easier to call the general public a bunch of sheeple for not appreciating the truth of your ‘SMASH THE STATE” which you’ve scrawled on the side of a bank building than it is to actually get involved in existing community initiatives or give people something to think about and enjoy.

And don’t forget to use the widget located on the righthand side of the page. Using it raises money for To Write Love On Her Arms, which is a damn good nonprofit which could use a lot more donated time and money.

And as for a book update, the manuscript is almost complete. All which remains to do is to put together the front and back covers and scan/integrate the two blueprints which I’m about halfway finished drawing. Then it gets sent off to my editors and shipped off to a publisher. Once I hear from a publisher I can can have an idea of when it’ll be ready for purchase and start setting up the sale infrastructure.