graffiti

Due dates:

Thursday, February 21: Graffiti should be completed and pictures posted to your blog for sharing with the class.

Friday, February 22: Rationales are due to me via email before you go to bed.

Materials needed:

  • thin cardboard or transparency (for making stencil)
  • exact-o knife
  • spray chalk OR spray paint and posterboard (for mock-up)

In this assignment, you will be making stencil graffiti. We discussed in class that graffiti can have multiple functions—it can be playful, subversive, or even just aesthetically pleasing. For this assignment, I would like for you to focus on graffiti’s rhetorical possibilities. That is, the combination of image, text, and location should be making an argument, attempting to change the way passers-by think about something beyond simply making them smile. Because we have an in-class activity involving playful, take-a-second-look-at-the-world-around-you graffiti, I want to discourage you from making that your argument this time around. If you are disrupting the way people engage with the world around them, have a specific reason for doing so!

The location you choose for your graffiti should not simply act as a point of distribution but should actually play a part in your argument itself. Keep in mind that you are not limited to campus locations: through the magic of photoshop (or even of just drawing an arrow onto a photo), your graffiti can appear anywhere in the world, wherever you think it would be the most effective. You are still required to take your stencil on a trial run, however—just spray it onto some posterboard to see how it turns out. If you do choose a campus location, you are welcome to put up a temporary version of your image-text using spray chalk or Halloween hair spray in lieu of paint; in this case, a posterboard version would be unnecessary.

As usual, your project should be accompanied by a rationale; this one should be about 500 words. In it you should answer the questions laid out on the “On Rationales” page and explain how your image, text, and location work together. Bear in mind that you are also making choices about typeface, color, level of detail, etc. Don’t forget to draw on our readings (including Exit through the Gift Shop; you may also find Drucker’s “Language in the Landscape” to be useful), and feel free to do additional research of your own and cite it properly!

Questions I will ask myself:

  • Does the project follow all directions?
  • Does the graffiti combine image, text, and location to make an argument? That is, is this project soundly engineered?
  • Does the project make its argument using the affordances of graffiti, showing rather than telling? Is the message well suited to the medium?
  • Is the concept of the project (note: NOT the execution of the stencil) complex/ambitious?
  • Is the rationale clear, thorough, and convincing?

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