Graffiti has been a part of military life for at least 5,000 years

War is a thing of terror, traditions, heartache and often, boredom. Passing the time between patrols, and the banality that comes from life in the field, is a constant challenge. Some people read. Most exercise. Everyone complains about the food. Soldiers write, train and call home--if there's someone there that'll pick up the phone. Video games? Totally a thing, in some instances. If you have a Sharpie, or a knife, there's a good chance that you might wind up doodling, scratching or scrawling something, at one point or another, to prove that you were there, where ever ‘there’ might be.

Jonathan Bratt, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan and a current company commander in the National Guard, put together a great read on the history of military graffiti for The New York Times. Starting with 5,000-year old cave paintings and navigating conflicts across the span of history, Bratten touches on the artwork and vandalization that soldiers, living in Death’s shadow, undertook to cure themselves of boredom and, in some cases, serve as proof of their existence.

From the New York Times Magazine:

World War II brought U.S. troops to Europe by the millions, and this time they were accompanied by a friend: Kilroy. Kilroy was a mysterious phantom, asserting his presence in the scrawled phrase “Kilroy was here,” often accompanied by a cartoon doodle of a bald head just peeking over a wall, nose and fingers visible. And Kilroy was everywhere. Troops claimed that when they’d storm a beach or take a village, they’d somehow find that Kilroy had gotten there before them.

Read the rest

ACLU steps in to defend anti-Trump mural in New Orleans

A mural quoting a sexual assault comment made by the President of the United States led to a threat of jail time from the city of New Orleans. Neal Morris, owner of the property and commissioner of the work, got the ACLU involved. Read the rest

Watch this street artist turn trash into enormous color-soaked sculptures

Bordalo II creates massive sculptures from junkyard artifacts. Here, he creates an underwater scene. Read the rest

Street artist erects a giant pink penis in New York City

On Christmas Eve, Swedish street artist Carolina Falkholt announced her big ball-less Broome Street dick on Instagram ("NO TIME 4 BALL$$," she wrote).

Three days later, after much controversy, that building's landlord had begun painting over her four-story tall lifelike phallus.

Falkholt shared this statement with Hyperallergic:

We live in cultures where sexual violence and sexual abuse are constantly happening. And there are a lot of raped and abused children who have lost their voices due to the shame that comes with having their own bodies violated at a young age. No more bodyshaming. Talking about these subjects in public space is a must for a healthy, nonviolent community/world. And the dialogue created around feminist public art pieces raises awareness. Art is one of the only places left where we can truly be free and discuss whatever difficult topics there are, since art has the ability to translate and transform language in any direction possible.

Enormous penis pops up in NYC and Local Residents Complain About Penis Mural on Broome Street

Thanks, Dixie!

photo via Carolina Falkholt Read the rest

Beer brand's giant graffiti Advent calendar 'tells it like it is'

There are Advent calendars and then there is the Banks's Brewery's Advent calendar.

Launched on December 1, the UK beer brand's countdown to Christmas stands over 36 feet tall because it's spray painted on the boarded-up windows of a deserted building in the English city of Wolverhampton.

Their bluntly-stated calendar is part of a larger campaign called "Tells it like it is" and its gritty commentary is meant to appeal to a young, working class audience.

Big Al’s Creative Emporium, the London-based creative agency behind it all, explains:

How do you reassert an identity for a traditional pint of Black Country bitter on a shoestring? Paint it on the walls. That’s how.

Banks’ was a traditional West Midland’s beer in decline, feeling a bit dated and with an ageing core of traditional drinkers. Despite an extremely limited marketing budget, we wanted to give the brand new lease of life by appropriating the straight talking wit and grit of its industrial Black Country roots.

Our solution was to develop a graffiti campaign around the thought ‘Tells it like it is’ and getting our messages on to unconventional urban spaces to create a subversive ambient campaign, which in turn we were able to activate as social media campaign taking on a life of its own.

Here's a peek at some of those messages:

See the rest over at Ads of the World.

Previously: There's an advent calendar full of weed Read the rest

Street artist turns curbside furniture and electronics into sad clowns

Instagram user Lonseometown9 documents their ongoing series of street art that transforms dumped sofas, chairs, and televisions into sad clowns. Read the rest

These tiny street art installations are easy to miss

Miguel Marquez Outside chronicles Australian artist Michael Pederson's clever and cute installations of small artworks. Read the rest

Street artist paints photorealistic mylar ballon murals

Swedish street artist Huge creates a lot of cool stuff, but he's best know for his balloon art that looks like those novelty letter-shaped mylar balloons in various levels of inflation. Read the rest

Watch this street artist paint a keychain using syringes

Juz Alvarado captured this footage of a street artist painting a "Zen" keychain using paint-filled syringes. Read the rest

Street artist turns drab urban spaces into whimsical delights

Street artist Tom Bob has made it his mission to turn a world full of drab and unremarkable little corners into charming moments with his brightly-colored re-renderings. Read the rest

100 artists allowed to paint entire school for weeks before renovations

Jonk Photography captured the remarkable work of dozens of street artists given weeks to create whatever they want inside a school that's about to be renovated. Read the rest

Real-life Photoshop: artists repaint graffiti-tagged stuff to look deleted

Anna Christova snapped this fantastic street art project called "CTRL+X," which paints items tagged with graffiti to look as if they've been selected and deleted in Photoshop, revealing the default transparent layer. Below is the before photo: Read the rest

Paul Walsh paints delightful creatures on utility boxes

Artist Paul Walsh brightens up the streets of Auckland, New Zealand by sprucing up old utility boxes with delightful creatures. Read the rest

Notes on curating an open access collection of political stickers

Catherine Tedford is curator of the Street Art Graphics collection, an open access collection of 2,700+ political stickers from the 1910s to today. Read the rest

Extreme closeups of spray paint caps used for a cosmic mural

μcapsmic zooms in on the found at of spray paint caps used to paint a mural of the Star Child from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Used and naturally clogged in the most random ways possible, these spray paint caps were once indistinguishable from one another to the human eye and untouched by the human hand in the making. Now, each of them is considered to be small-scale models of the Universe that they created it. The first part showed here is a selection of six clogged spray paint caps that were used to create the stellar mural "StarChild (Genesis)".

μcapsmic - A Vision of Cosmos (Vimeo / The Orion) Read the rest

"Future Internment Camp" signs pop up across the country

Street artist Plastic Jesus recruited artists to affix signs at construction sites and fenced-off lots around the country that say "Lot Reserved for: Future Interment Camp." Download and print your own here. Read the rest

Anti-Trident activists poster London with "Become a Suicide Bomber" spoof naval recruiting ads

Artist Darren Cullen (previously) created the posters, which read, "The crew of our nuclear submarines are on a suicide mission. To launch their missiles means death is certain, not just for them, but for the millions of innocent people those bombs will obliterate, and for the rest of us too." Read the rest

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