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”.
TV reviewBroadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair
Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere
TVThe Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 4 Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
- 5 Stephen Hawking endorses Labour in the General Election
Fast & Furious 7 overtakes Frozen to become 5th highest grossing movie of all time
Poldark, series 1 finale, review: How a costume drama became a Sunday night swoon-fest
Avengers: Age of Ultron: Nearly 700 German cinemas refuse to show film
Al Pacino admits he was nearly fired from The Godfather and it's still his most 'difficult role'
Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik tops Sunday Times Rich List
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
HSBC review into moving headquarters from UK 'underway'