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Why Greene Street NYC Plasters Walls With 'Reverse Graffiti'

Born from a fascination with reverse graffiti and it’s alignment with clean art, Greene Street NYC is a collaboration between emerging artist Chris Choi, lifestyle brand SP?NGLISH (ñ), and myself, a fashion designer with a love for all things green. Our goal is to make an environmental statement through three gradually changing murals that we will create within a two month period, using reverse graffiti.

Reverse graffiti is an alternative way to make art without using paint. This process involves art being cut into stencils, placing the stencils onto a surface, and cleaning the area of the stencil with power wash equipment. Once the stencil is taken off, the part of the surface that was cleaned becomes art. The process of removing dirt on walls with clean art is very much the opposite of traditional street art, which is what drew us to reverse graffiti in the first place. As with all street art, taggers will most likely paint over our work, so our project makes reverse graffiti a more integrated part of the street art landscape.

Our most important task when we started this project was to find a wall where our vision could manifest itself. After a year of searching, and help from our extended network of supportive friends, we were put in touch with the board of a building that has a wall facing West Houston Street, one of the busiest streets in New York City. The board was interested in our project because we not only offered to bring more attention to their space with our art, but also planned to rent the wall for two months so that the building could afford their maintenance costs.

Currently there is an iconic wall on the east side of Houston, right off of Bowery, which is known for attracting large scale artwork from well-known street artists. We see our wall as a place where emerging artists can show their work without judgment from other, more experienced contemporary artists.

We plan to have three different artworks shown throughout the two month period that we have the wall. The first piece will feature a car gradually driving from left to right of the wall. Bubbles will appear as it drives towards a bike, signaling the importance of choosing biking over vehicles dependent on oil. The second piece will be a faucet on the top right of the wall, with water slowly dripping from it, representing a need to be more conscious of our water resources. Our final piece will be more humorous take on measuring our carbon footprints. A paint can will be featured, stating “Can Down”, with text beside it stating, “Wash your step”.

With our Kickstarter project, we hope to cover the costs of including artists, materials, the wall, and all who helped us during the process. Consider being a part of a new art movement that will make an environmental statement.

This project was featured in GOOD's Saturday series Push for Good—our guide to crowdfunding creative progress.

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