I’m a big fan of street art. I love the raw form of self-expression and the anonymity that comes with it. I think that this take on the art form is particularly interesting for several reasons.
Street art is all about the artist’s contribution to the city, but Guus Ter Beek and Tayfun Sarier put an interesting spin on street art by doing the “opposite” of contributing. Rather than adding to city walls and objects they are taking away, “erasing” graffiti, images, and even street signs. The quote from the artists saying that there is “a lot worth erasing” sparks some deeper thought as well. With cities’ advertising clutter, walls conquered by graffiti artists, and forests of street signs there is a lot of noise within urban areas across the world. Which messages are worthy? Which ones deserve to stand and which should fall? Which aspects of culture are disgraceful or in poor taste? And what icons promote these distasteful ideas and habits? Beek and Sarier’s work raises a question of worth among the streets of London.
Additionally, I find the merging of the digital and analogue worlds particularly intriguing. Bringing a feature of a digital art platform into a real world setting is a neat idea. Beek and Sarier’s choice to place their eraser art in areas concentrated with designers was a smart idea. I’m sure their imagery and message resonate well with the local audience.
Have you ever seen something so remarkable? Michael Paul Smith’s crafted tiny town is so artfully fashioned down to each and every detail that it is almost impossible to believe that it doesn’t exist on a real-life level. From miniature porch lights to luminous street puddles, no tiny element is overlooked by Smith. Not only has he perfected his craft of constructing this charming, tiny environment, but he is also a skilled photographer. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of his photographs of “Elgin Park” is the fact that he uses the real life surrounding scenery to act as the background for the tiny town he has created in his daytime shots. He has learned to position the camera in such a way that the trees around him become the trees growing behind the buildings of “Elgin Park,” and he could not have done a more perfect job. For his night shots, he creates dark, foggy backdrops to set up behind the little buildings and installs lights in the windows of shops and houses. I am in awe of his attention to detail in each of his sets and photos. I am also a big fan of his selfie pictures that feature Smith himself with his tiny masterpieces.
Seeing these images reminded me of my younger years as an interior design enthusiast. When I was in elementary school, I dedicated the vast majority of my free time to meticulously decorating a Barbie house I had been given as a little girl. Never much of a Barbie fan, I focused on setting up tiny furniture and knick knacks—both handmade and handed down to me from my grandma—rather than spending time dressing up the Barbie dolls to play with. Maybe one day I’ll rekindle my appreciation for miniature décor and create my own “Elgin Park.”
GSD&M has done it again. The wonderfully weird minds of this Austin ad agency have created something brilliant: the Avoid Humans app. Launched at this year’s SXSW festival, this app allows its users to easily seek out the most desolate nearby destinations in order to literally avoid humans. This is an introvert’s dream. Particularly Austinite introverts who wish to evade the monstrous crowds that SXSW inevitably attracts year after year. With the festival expanding more and more each March, allowing for massive corporate takeover to flood all areas of downtown Austin, many Austinites and other SXSW veterans are unhappy with the direction this Austin tradition is heading. GSD&M recognized this and cleverly took advantage of the negative feelings about SXSW boiling up among Austin locals by launching their app at a time when these people would appreciate it most. App launches are of course a regular part of SXSW, but only GSD&M made one targeted at their own local Austinites, following the shared attitude of “Yes, Austin is great, visitors, but please leave immediately and don’t even think about moving here.” This app is humorous and useful for all people, but GSD&M was pretty sharp to keep their locals in mind by launching just in time to help them avoid the massive SXSW herds of humans.