March 22nd, 2007

Natural Street Art

Posted in Art and Design, Canada by Christopher DeWolf

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The streets are filled with the detritus of everyday human activity. Occasionally, however, those remnants are left behind in such a fashion that they seem extraordinary—almost artistic. In Vancouver, on Keefer Street, I came across several feathers stuck into the cracks of a wooden hydro pole. Nearby, orange peels had been delicately placed on a utility box. Downtown, on Granville Street, a stray newspaper had been imprinted onto the surface of the sidewalk by thousands of footsteps, giving it the appearance of having been painted on the concrete.

None of this can be described as street art, since it is all, as far as I can tell, entirely accidental. But perhaps it can be considered a sort of natural art? Art created unintentionally? In the same vein are the posters, stickers and random notes that litter our cities’ streetscapes. Here in Montreal, I remember a series of posters that mysteriously appeared one night, declaring, “Girl from Saskatoon! I owe you bagels! Email me.” Another afternoon, walking along Sherbrooke Street in NDG, I noticed a poster pleading for the return of a lost “Pakistani passport, green color.” It was taped haphazardly on a traffic control box, next to an unrelated sticker with a drawing of a woman.

The only link between these things is that, somehow, they transcend their randomness or utilitarian purpose and take on another dimension. They become a kind of comment on the way we use our streets and public spaces. But most of all, they become strange, beautiful, perplexing.

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Newspaper imprinted on the Granville Street sidewalk, Vancouver

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Orange peels left behind in East Vancouver

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Layers of stickers on a Thurlow Street lamppost, Vancouver

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Remants of posters on a West End hydro pole, Vancouver

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Poster on Sherbrooke Street in NDG, Montreal


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One comment

  1. dream listener says:

    yes! and yes again.

    April 8th, 2011 at 12:05 pm