Guerrilla Street Art

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

Here are some pick hits from 20 Subversive Works of Urban Guerrilla Street Art, written by Steph on June 14th, 2009 on WebUrbanist:

Street Art That Makes You Look Twice by Mark Jenkins

Ducks made of packing tape, floating in a puddle. A man seemingly putting his head through a concrete wall. The startling contrast of cheerful balloons tied to what looks like a dead body. These are all among the creative urban art installations that come from the mind of street artist Mark Jenkins, who treats public space like one big blank canvas.

Street installations by Mark Jenkins

Jenkins told art critic Brian Sherwin, “There is opposition, and risk, but I think that just shows that street art is the sort of frontier where the leading edge really does have to chew through the ice. And it”™s good for people to remember public space is a battleground, with the government, advertisers and artists all mixing and mashing, and even now the strange cross-pollination taking place as street artists sometimes become brands, and brands camouflaging as street art creating complex hybrids or impersonators.”

images:; see more of his work here.

Subtle Yet Subersive Art Interventions by SpY

Spanish artist SpY subtly alters ordinary objects in urban environments, sometimes to make a statement and sometimes just for the fun of it. He describes his work as a “playful reappropriation of urban elements”, replicating them or transforming them in his studio and then installing them in the streets. He seeks to break through the automated monotony of everyday urban life and get people to notice things as if for the first time.



images: dornob

Subway Swing Disguised as a Bag [by Caroline Woolard]

Paranoia reigns on New York City subways, but one artist wanted to bring back fun, innocence and laughter. So, flouting the “if you see something, say something” dictate of the Transportation Authority, she created a swing disguised as a bag that can be hooked around the handrail.

“I hope that the innocent amusement of swinging on the subway eclipses the atmosphere of suspicion and insulation that random searches (and the motto “if you see something say something”) produces. May playful engagement in public space provide a plausible alternative to the monotony of routine!”

Caroline Woolard Subway Swing Disguised as a Bag

View video here

images: Conflux Festival

Trash: Any Color You Like

Neon pink with white polka dots certainly help trash bags stand out from their surroundings, highlighting just how many of them there really are in an urban environment. It also provides a pop of bright, fun color in what can otherwise be a dreary cityscape. New York-based artist Adrian Kondratowicz has distributed these biodegradable bags around New York City and in several countries around the world, hoping to raise environmental awareness and beautify urban spaces at the same time.

Adrian Kondratowicz's Trash Bags

images via: anycoloryoulike

The Random Lift Button

Do you always need to know exactly where you”™re going? Sometimes, it”™s therapeutic to give into chaos and randomness. Chris Speed of Arch-OS created the “˜random lift button”™ so you can remove yourself from the system that has placed a premium on time and space, aimlessly wandering so as to enjoy a more complete experience.

Arch-OS Random Lift Button

Arch-OS explains, “Lifts become a temporal slippage in the experience of a building as a whole, we skip space and avoid people, places and the opportunity to see the “˜whole”™. Indeed corridors and stairwells are recognized as the most important social spaces within businesses and many more negotiations and affairs occur between office spaces than within them.”

image via: arch-os

Trees Transformed into Giant Carrots

With the simple addition of ridged orange containers, six tall and thin trees in Portland were transformed instantly into carrots, luring passers-by to read the stickers – advertising a local farmer”™s market – and salivate over the thought of crisp, fresh produce. This installation was a subtle advertisement, but also added a sense of whimsy to an otherwise unremarkable urban street.

Farmers' Market Ad

image: Ads of the World

Literal “˜Street Art”™ by Roadsworth

The street itself is a blank canvas offering virtually unlimited opportunities for artistic expression, whether to communicate, beautify or engage. Street artist Roadsworth takes full advantage of this space, and his work has evolved over the years from anti-car sentiments in his hometown of Montreal to fun, ironic and sometimes thought-provoking imagery.


images: Jalopnik

FILEangels Deliver Kits for Traffic Jam Fun

When you”™re stuck in a traffic jam, you tend to sit around, bored and impatient, waiting for the chance to get out. A Dutch group of architects called Artgineering doesn”™t see why we shouldn”™t relax and have some fun while we”™re waiting. The group had motorcycle-riding “˜FILEangels”™ distribute “˜FILEkits”™ (file is Dutch for traffic jam) containing items like a water pistol, a bible and a condom to bored motorists free of charge. The idea was to turn a negative situation into a positive one, giving motorists a reason to step out of their cars and interact with each other.


images: Guerilla Innovation

Guerrilla street art featured in this article from WebUrbanist and seen previously on The Art of the Prank:

  • Lucas Murgida Hitches a Ride in a Cabinet
  • Improv Everywhere’s Best Buy Prank featured in Wall Street Journal on The New Pranksters