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