The hustle and bustle of the city can be contagious. Everyone’s got somewhere to be, something to do, and people move quickly along the streets and avenues lined with multi-story buildings, apartment complexes and neighborhood shops. But nearby, many cities sport community gardens and urban homesteading, and are working to educate folks and re-imagine what our cities might look like when we allow nature to flourish. One delightful offshoot of official efforts and guerrilla gardening movements – moss graffiti.
When we think of nature in the city, we often see images of grassy parks or tree-lined boulevards. And with art in the city, we get bright graffiti tags and painted murals.
But some artists and activists are have taken to the streets, not armed with spray paint canisters, but with moss.
It’s actually a fairly simple recipe, and after blending moss with ingredients like buttermilk, yogurt, sugar, water, and corn syrup, anyone with a paint brush can paint greenery onto walls.
The idea has caught on across the globe and this form of “vandalism” is now often supported by institutions, featured in galleries, and showcased in restaurants. You can even buy your own DIY moss art kit.
Here are some of our favorite examples of moss graffiti and other cool plant art from artists whose work paved that way for this spongy, green trend to take off:
Goldsworthy is a sculptor, photographer, and environmentalist whose work is characterized by site-specific installations in nature.
Makoto is a Japanese botanical sculptor and floral artist. His work “Time of Moss” in 2009 inspired many artists.
Mosstika is the creative studio founded by the artist, Edina Tokodi.
Tokodi has said that “By incorporating plant life and other materials found in the local natural environment with photos or graphic elements, my installation works dissolve the barriers between private and public space, between the organic and inorganic elements of the urban landscape, and between nature and art. My work advocates sustainable living and draws attention to the deficiency of nature in daily life.”
Kinsey is a California-based artist and founder of “Artisan Moss”. Her work is often found inside restaurants, homes and businesses.
Illet’s collaborative piece with sprout guerrilla, “Hello/Goodbye” is a moss graffiti diptych that explores the ways in which ‘we recognize nature’s uses and aesthetic appeal, but go to great lengths to control it.‘
Rojas is a Mexican artist and educator. His project “Natural Graffiti”, a collaborative art project.
From Schmitt’s website: Carly Schmitt is a public artist and artistic entrepreneur. Schmitt is the President, founder and CEO of Artist @ Large, a small art business under which she executes large-scale public art projects and curates various community-based artistic initiatives.
Anna Garforth is a multi-discilpinary designer working and living in East London. According to her website, her piece entitled The Big Bang is assembled from hundreds of moss tufts collected from stone walls around Hackney. The installation depicts Mother Earth as a seed shattering explosion.”
Garforths’s moss artwork is also displayed at King’s Cross Picnic and is a commissioned work, featuring a mossy tapestry.
Know of any other creative ways people are combining art and nature in urban landscapes? Let us know. There’s no telling the positive impact of creative possibility when art and nature combine.