Brandalism: Street artists hijack billboards for 'subvertising campaign'
Street artists are targeting advertising billboards in a new movement nicknamed 'brandalism'
An article about an artist who sneaks around London plastering verses of poetry over advertising billboards published in The Independent earlier this year elicited huge interest, gaining more than 2.5K ‘Likes’ on Facebook and starting a social networking frenzy.
Among your comments were: “I love an intelligent response to advertising. Who asked the public if we want our faces filled with adverts as we walk the streets?” and “Hooray! More of this. Everyone should start doing this to adverts”.
The relatively unknown artist responsible, Robert Montgomery from Scotland, seems to have struck a chord with readers. His verses were presented sparsely in black and white typography. They appeared overnight and passers-by, used probably to blanking out colourful sales images, either didn’t notice at all, or stopped transfixed to read the poems.
A new movement of advertising artists have followed in Montgomery's wake. Nicknamed ‘Brandalism’, because it feeds into the graffiti versus vandalism debate, it has been taken up by artists in Britain, Australia and America and elsewhere. It is, like all street art, illegal. But street artists and graffitists are boldly exploiting the convenient rectangular spaces which normally purvey L’Oreal products or the latest albums.
Twenty-six artists, including Montgomery, have now completed the world's first international collaborative “subvertising” campaign, hijacking 35 billboards across Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and London. They seek “to challenge the destructive impacts of the advertising industry” as well as to tackle its detrimental impact on issues such as body image, consumerism and debt. They are also, they say, responding to the riots last summer.
Bill Posters, who famously subverted a Nike advert of Wayne Rooney clutching shopping bags with the tagline, 'Just Loot It', says: “The advertising industry creates pressure when they manipulate our needs and desires. Pressure to have the latest gear, clothes and phones. This pressure erupted when kids took to the streets across the country to claim what they had been told that they needed.”
“We’re lab rats for ad execs who exploit our fears and insecurities through consumerism. I’m a human being, not a consumer. So by taking these billboards, we are taking these spaces back. If Sao Paolo in Brazil can ban all outdoor advertising, so can we”.
Arts & Ents blogs
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
- 1 Boy George: Bad karma
- 2 Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 3 First Kiss video: Filmmaker gets 20 strangers to make out on YouTube with awkward results
- 4 Rampaging elephant smashes up house but then 'saves crying baby trapped under debris'
- 5 Ian Wright breaks down in ITV documentary charting his rise to Arsenal and England striker