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For Green Graffiti, Moss is Boss

Mosstica Hungarian Cattle
With moss, graffiti artists and activists get green, literally speaking.

Quick, what can you make with a handful of moss, some yogurt, and a can of beer?

A statement.

Over the last several years, gardeners and graffiti artists have been discovering common ground—on walls. While it’s difficult to pinpoint the origin of the moss graffiti movement, Edina Tokodi—a.k.a. Mosstica—seems a likely source. The Hungarian artist has been putting moss in public spaces since 2004 (above, a work from 2008; below, from 2004).

Mosstica Moss in Budapest 

Since then, word has spread (alongside striking photos) about how to make and grow this fuzzy paint. Methods vary slightly, but most follow the general formula of this recipe from Destructables or this concoction featuring beer and corn syrup from Gardening Guru. These simple approaches have made the technique accessible to internationally recognized artists and Occupiers alike.

Moss graffiti Occupy 

While moss’s inclination to keep trim makes it a clear choice for wall growth, the bryophyte has another quality that makes it ideal. Because the “paint” making process involves putting the moss in a blender, this technique would only work with a plant that spreads via spores. One drawback to moss: unless you live in a rainy clime, this art will require upkeep. In drier regions, the moss must be sprayed religiously.

Anna Garforth Grow 

Set in London, Anna Garforth’s Grow seems to encourage the wilderness that’s crept back into an unused plot of land (slated for redevelopment). “It’s amazing how quickly the wild reclaims its space and carries on growing even after is has been destroyed,” she writes.

Many are touting moss graffiti as a green alternative to spray paint— aerosol and solvent free, with fewer cans left on the ground. While street art techniques like wheatpasting have been environmentally-friendly options for quite some time, the stunning effects of this green graffiti cannot be denied.

 Anna Garforth Grow 2 

See more green graffiti at Environmental Graffiti, or check out Good’s round-up of cool guerilla gardens from around the world.

Images: Hungarian Cattle (Brooklyn, 2008) and As It Started (Budapest, 2004): Mosstika; Occupy: finiculi, finicula (via); Grow: Anna Garforth 

jim bowes
4/6/2013 1:49:05 PM

Fantastic that moss is being seen as a great new medium but don't get fooled by the handful of moss yogurt or beer recipe. Yes, that will work on the stones in your garden in the shade if the environment is very humid but all of the examples above are using harvested moss that is cut out and then glued onto the wall. GreenGraffiti® the company based in Europe has tested this recipe extensively as have many other natural media companies. Moss gets its nutrition from the tips of it "leaves". It does not have a root structure. This is why it grows best on the ground where the moisture at night will settle on the moss and nourish it. Place moss on a wall in a vertical position in a very light environment and it will go into hibernation unless you are there to mist it every hour or so to keep it from drying out. The good news is that this should not discourage you! Harvested moss is easy to buy and very inexpensive. It is also harvested in a sustainable manner. It takes many years for it to grow thick and lush and this is also what makes it look so beautiful. If you have used the recipe and made it work, we sure would like to hear your secret and see the results as mostly what you see with this recipe are photos such as those above which are not grown on the walls but adhered there. Ig you have questions, feel free to contact us as we use this technique for our clients. Not to pop the bubble but just trying to correct an internet myth that has spread all over the world but is simply not what it appears to be. We wish it was other wise but... its not.