Dust tagging produces art works
Our urban environment, the streets in particular, seem to get dirtier and dirtier. You’ve seen that yourself every time you scratched “WASH ME” into the grime on a car windshield or the like.
Dirty weekend away, anyone?
But one person’s eyesore is another person’s business opportunity. Take the world’s first natural media company CURB for example. This London-based company has made reverse graffiti and other sustainable eco-advertising their business.
A clear message in the dust.
Ever since artist Moose, a.k.a. Paul Curtis, started beautifying streets, cars and street signs by etching smart messages and stunning images in the dirt in the late ‘90s, reverse graffiti was officially born. Often called grime writing, clean tagging or dust tagging, it didn’t take long for this art form to be used commercially.
Just follow the writing on the wall.
Initially, the approach was to reach the public and potential customers in an unconventional, new way through a form of guerilla advertising. Today, reverse graffiti has established itself as an alternative to traditional advertising and, together with other eco-advertising methods, is called “clean advertising”.
It pays to keep your eyes down – here a message by the Manchester Police.
But what exactly is “clean advertising”? According to CURB, it is the “process of selectively removing dirt from high-footfall areas to reveal an eye-catching message” or, in other words, reverse graffiti used for commercial purposes.
CURB MD Anthony Ganjou explains the benefits of this new advertising method:
“One of the reasons that Clean Advertising has taken off so well for CURB is that our team use an extremely safe, patented form of equipment. We filter rainwater to steam clean surfaces in an extremely reliable, non-permanent and ultimately eco-friendly process, that guarantees plenty of impact with pedestrians out and about in the city. It’s not what people are expecting to see, and it’s ultimately a way of engaging with the public in an enjoyable, non intrusive way.”
CURB was formed in September of 2008 and has since placed more than 3,500 clean adverts, making it the biggest provider of clean advertising. This effective and sustainable way of marketing one’s products has attracted even big projects, one of the latest ones involving 1,350 sites in 10 major cities.
Not grime writing but sea tagging.
Sea tagging, another new clean advertising idea, involves spraying seawater through custom-made stencils to reveal an advertiser’s message, in this case the SEA LIFE campaign of London Aquarium. Though each of the over 2,000 images of sea turtles, sharks and seahorses were only visible for 5 – 15 minutes, who would not watch the group of taggers dressed in scuba diving gear spraying them onto streets, walls and sidewalks?
Not as permanent as London Bridge but more eco-friendly.
Another advantage is that no permissions or permits are required as the materials used are already there in abundance – dirt, dust, sand and grime – or consist of nothing but water, snow, etc. We’ll surely keep our eyes peeled for more.