“Guerrilla art” is a phrase used interchangeably with “street art”.
It may typically entail any of the various art forms: graffiti, wheatpasting, stenciling, stickering, performance, video, LED, or installation art and must take place in a public place anonymously. Basquiat (graffiti), Banksy (stencil, graffiti), Shepard Fairey (wheatpasting, stencil), Improv Everywhere (flash mob, performance art), Reverend Billy & The Church of Life After Shopping (performance art, culture jamming) are a few famous examples of guerrilla artists.
I f’ing love guerrilla art because it forces the creator and the viewer to think outside of the box. I especially dig it when the art taps over into the realm of culture jamming, and creates a whole new spin on how we view the norm. I daydream about changing my name to one word and stenciling pictures of David Byrne dancing with a lamp all the time…. that’s not really an example of culture jamming, but who doesn’t love David Byrne and lamps…dancing?
The quintessential guerrilla art book is Keri Smith’s Guerrilla Art Kit. Truly the only book of it’s kind, Smith teaches the layman how they too can become a guerrilla artist. From wheatpasting to seed bombs to moss graffiti, Smith covers all the bases.
Every time I read this book, it inspires me to go out and starting planting anonymous art all over the city. Then about five minutes later I forget about it and won’t remember until I pick the book off my bookshelf about six months later.
While living in Los Angeles, the want to participate in guerrilla art was strong, but effort futile. It was too much work to find a location and lug any equipment there and run the risk of getting caught by the police. Upon moving to Austin, I was disappointed with the lack of public art pieces and graffiti, but it wasn’t until I started writing this post that I realized Austin did have it’s own street art scene, albeit a small one. Probably one of the city’s most notable pieces comes from Shepard Fairey (artist behind Obama’s “Hope”, “Andre the Giant Has a Posse”, and “Obey”), who at last year’s SXSW, pasted some of his landmark graphics around town (Emo’s, Home Slice, Mellow Johnny’s, Red 7, East 6th).
Below is one of Fairey’s graphics pasted outside of Home Slice.
(Anyone know what the name of this graphic is?)
Austin also has it’s own example of “yarn bombing”, another popular form of guerrilla art, located in front of Domy Books on Cesar Chavez.
The next one I want to try is moss graffiti:
If you want to start making some guerrilla art, but don’t want to end up calling your parents at 2AM for bail money, Smith lists some “light” exercises you can practice:
–Found in the Environment– rearranging objects found in your surroundings.