creativity · learning · play

Playing into old age: Meet the Graffiti Mamas


Play often involves some aspect of rebellion – doing things just slightly different than before, mixing things up.

That is very apparent in this interview with Luisa Cortesao from Portugal, who became a graffiti artist later in life and ran workshops for her peers.

architecture · community · creativity

Best Tech-Focused Graffiti According To The Creators Project

Banksy is a graffiti artist who often makes commentary about creating better, healthier, more friendly environments.

In light of Banksy’s return to New York in three years, The Creators Project collected “some of our favorite tech-focused graffiti artists in recent memory. Even if these artists don’t use the same stencil and paint style (read: analog) as him, we’re sure these artists cite Banksy as a top influence.”

more via In Light Of Banksy’s New York Return, Here Is The Best Tech-Focused Graffiti | The Creators Project.

community · creativity · culture · play · Social

Play-Based KickStarter: Denver’s Immersive Street Arcade by OhHeckYeah

A long exposure photograph (2.5 seconds) of th...
Taking the arcade experience outdoors. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Coming soon(ish) to a street near you (if you live in Colorado):

OHY will transform a Downtown Denver street into an interactive arcade using LED screens, projections, custom games and street art.

BRINGING PLAY BACK TO THE STREET: Get ready! This summer – June & July, 2014 – Champa Street in Denver, from 14th Street to the 16th Street Mall, will be transformed into a street arcade like you’ve never seen. This isn’t your father’s old-school arcade. Powered through a combination of the Denver Theatre District’s LED screens, building projections, street art, social media and a website, this immersive arcade is going to be a gaming experience for all!

ON THE WEB: The public will be able to interact with video game characters through personalized Twitter profiles powered by local improv comedians from Bovine Metropolis.

ON THE STREET: Once you’re on Champa Street, you’ll feel it – the pulse of the arcade bringing downtown to life. To play at the arcade is to be immersed in each game. The entire two city blocks will be full of street art and custom structures that will transport players to a modern game world. The enormity and excitement is going to blow people away.

GAMES: Built by the Denver-based, award-winning creative team of Legwork Studio and Mode Set, the games will allow players to use a smart phone and their body as controllers while playing on the huge Denver Theater District LED screens, as well as projections on buildings. Microsoft Kinect devices will be utilized so participants feel like they’ve jumped right into the video games.

more via OhHeckYeah: Denver’s Immersive Street Arcade by Brian Corrigan — Kickstarter.

This sounds like a really great way to get people playing together in public spaces.

(Word to the wise, if you have a play-based Kickstarter event, toy, program, or other play-related thing you are trying to get attention for, let me know about it as it is pretty much guaranteed to get some blog time.)

architecture · community · creativity · happiness · Social

The best examples of street art in 2012 48 pictures | memolition

As you head home tonight, keep an eye out for any rogue street art on your commute. You’ll be surprised what you may see… 🙂

more at The best examples of street art in 2012 48 pictures | memolition.

community · creativity · happiness · Social

Matthew Silver, The Great Perfomer is simply silly for a living

I read about this street performer on Mashable. Based in Manhattan, he sounds like a guy with the same passion and vision for a play-filled world that I have, so I just had to share:

Photo image courtesy of Flickr, charlesdyer.

Matthew Silver just wants people to smile.

Silver, “The Great Performer,” can be seen throughout Manhattan using dance, song and oversized props to ease the tension of everyday life — because, as he says on his website, “it’s OK to be silly from time to time.”

Matthew describes his work on his website as an antidote to seriousness:

My role as a clown, trickster and village idiot is to parody excessive seriousness by playing with taboos, rules, and social norms.  My inspiration comes from my heart.  I perform for smiles and laughter, loosening people’s armor, and opening up a portal for imagination, creativity and love.

Silver reaching out to his audience, literally. Photo from his website.

Glad there is somebody out there who spends his time encouraging people to be silly.

Check out Matthew Silver on his website or Facebook page.

anthropology · architecture · community · creativity · environment · Social · technology

Mapped out Missed Connections

I’m a very visual person, so I like to map stuff out as much as possible. It looks like some artists had the same sentiment and took it to the next level. I argue this is environmental enrichment because it takes human connections (or missed human connections) and marks them in the universe, in a fun way!
From Wired:

You know Craigslist’s Missed Connections, right? The personals page where you log a brief interaction with a stranger who you hope to see again? The posts are a candid, wistful, often hilarious look at interactions — or the lack thereof — between people in the digital age, and beg the question, “Have we become so used to interacting online that we can’t say ‘hi’ in person?”

That question, among others, inspired artists Lisa Park and Adria Navarro to take these digital love notes and turn them back into physical markers. The pair made oversize stickers based on Missed Connections posts, then affixed them at the exact spot where the missed connection occurred. They document the entire project, called I Wish I Said Hello, online, completing the loop.

To me this is kind of like marking your initials in a tree without hurting a living organism. It’s fun, it tells a story, and it helps us make connections with people; even if we never meet them in real life, we learn a little bit about who they are, how they see the world, and a moment in their lives. That helps us in turn feel more connected to our communities and large, ever-expanding tribes.

Locations also hold special meaning to people; pilgrimages to the cafe where their favorite singer performed to Mecca and everything in between. These also create small landmarks that are probably insignificant in the long run, but help orient us in the world in some way.

Have a special place or spot? Why not mark it with a ribbon or rock, or just let us know about it in the comments below.

community · creativity · Social

Street art

Happy Friday! I was forwarded one of those massive emails with a lot of great street graffiti and art, all of them commenting on their environment, as well as adding beauty and interest. I will add credits and attribute authors as soon as I find out who everyone is (if you know any of the artists please let me know in the comments below), but for now just some nice eye candy to get you ready for the weekend. Enjoy!

anthropology · architecture · community · creativity · culture · design · environment · happiness · Social

How legalizing street art made Rio de Janeiro a prettier, happier place

A recent article in the Huffington Post explored Rio de Janeiro’s acceptance of street art and how it has enriched the various neighborhoods:

Brazilian graffiti art is considered among the most significant strand[s] of a global urban art movement, and its diversity defies the increasing homogeneity of world graffiti.” – Design Week

In March 2009, the Brazilian government passed law 706/07 making street art and graffiti legal if done with the consent of building owners. As progressive of a policy as this may sound, the legislation is actually a reflection of the evolving landscape in Brazilian street art, an emerging and divergent movement in the global street art landscape.

Rio de Janeiro has been particularly progressive in its policy towards street art, with its 1999 “Não pixe, grafite” (Don’t Tag, Graffiti) project that brought together 35 graffiti artists to showcase diversity in local styles. But more unique is the evolution of a permission hierarchy, blurring the line between formal and informal. The new street art law merely reinforced these unique patterns of street art and legitimized an already flourishing form of artistic expression.

Retaining walls on the steep terrain provide canvases for artists.

In Rio de Janeiro, street art is ubiquitous. It exists in all corners of the city, from the favelasto upper class neighborhoods, from residential to institutional. It is bold in scale and aesthetics and is anything but graffiti. The urban fabric of Rio de Janeiro also figures prominently in the evolving street art scene. The high walls, whether for security or to contain the topography, provide ample surfaces for painting. But rather than location dictating art, the relationship between owner and artist has a direct impact on where street art occurs.

Owners of buildings, both residential and commercial, sometimes invite artists for commissions, which is done to protect from tagging, as an aesthetic choice or as an economic choice — painting a façade with art may be cheaper than another mode of beautification. In another case, street artists ask permission from the owner.

Tudo de cor para você, Santa Marta, Rio de Janeiro (photo source:

Thanks to the city’s openness to various forms of artwork, and specifically “street” art, Rio de Janeiro is now known for its colorfulness and art. In informal studies the art has also been found to make citizens more invested in their communities and overall happier.

Hooray for public art.