Natural Street Art


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.


Newspaper imprinted on the Granville Street sidewalk, Vancouver


Orange peels left behind in East Vancouver


Layers of stickers on a Thurlow Street lamppost, Vancouver


Remants of posters on a West End hydro pole, Vancouver


Poster on Sherbrooke Street in NDG, Montreal

This entry was written by Christopher DeWolf , posted on Thursday March 22 2007at 12:03 am , filed under Art and Design, Canada and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

One Response to “Natural Street Art”