Saturday, January 5, 2008

Pushing The Legal Boundaries Of Graffiti

As graffiti laws become increasingly more ridiculous, several artists have found new ways of displaying their work within the restraints of legality.

Ellis Gallagher
Better known as "The Shadowman," Gallagher's mediums are sidewalk chalk, the incandescent glow of city street lights and the shadows that they leave behind. Working his way around Brooklyn neighborhoods, he traces the shadow contours of various objects left by the surrounding street lights. How is this legal? It's fucking sidewalk chalk, that's how. But believe it or not, Gallagher has actually been arrested for this in the past. The charges were eventually dropped, but he did have to spend the night in jail.

Graffiti Research Lab
Graffiti Research Lab, founded by Evan Roth and James Powderly, is an art group dedicated to outfitting graffiti writers, artists and protesters with open source technologies for urban communication. The members of this group experiment in a lab and in the field to develop and test a range of experimental technologies. They document their efforts with DIY Instructional Videos which are made available for all who are interested.

The idea behind this one is simple. Use concentrated beams of light to display a message. Graffiti as defined by law is the alteration of a public surface with a pen, marker, spray paint or any other substance that can be considered damaging and/or permanent. Luckily for us, these concentrated beams of light are neither damaging nor permanent. Another thing that's badass about this system is that you can go HUGE in a matter of seconds.

Alexandre Orion
Brazilian artist Alexandre Orion creates his imagery by scraping and washing off layers of soot created by car exhaust that cover the walls of São Paulo's tunnel systems. He's got a sick style and his process is actually the complete opposite of what the law defines as graffiti. It's a damn shame that his work is removed so quickly.

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