How to get a message read? It’s the question activists, artists, and media moguls are all asking. In a world where Internet posts are read more than magazines, and people can handpick how, and what type, of information is allowed into their lives, is it possible to develop a new mode of communication? Turns out, it’s as simple as mud.
Milwaukee artist Jesse Graves was interested in stenciling images to promote environmental awareness, but understanding that the medium is the message he didn’t want to use toxic spray paint.
“They are a low tech, low impact way to put messages in public space,” says Graves.
The stencil designs are cut out of Mylar. The artist uses them to mold mud messages along walls, across sidewalks and around pillars. In the beginning, Graves utilized the format to critique our cultural obsession with products that rely on oil consumption and harmful industrial farming practices. For instance, there is a line drawing of a plastic water bottle with the word ‘OIL’ placed where consumers are conditioned to see a label. Another image is of a cow with two thought bubbles, one with a heart filled with grass, the other an ear of corn with the universal no of a slashed circle.