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Bio Graffiti: Urban Art Takes A New Form

Updated on February 11, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

It Doesn't Get Greener Than This

Everyone knows about graffiti. This urban art form has made it's way to the smallest towns, the tiniest hamlets, underneath the most remote bridges. It streaks across the continent on the sides of box cars, and irritates numerous business owners. But green graffiti?

Camoflauge by Edina Tokodi Image courtesy of Inhabitat
Camoflauge by Edina Tokodi Image courtesy of Inhabitat

Edina Tokodi

Apparently green graffiti is cool. There is an artist names Edina Tokodi that is creating green graffiti in Brooklyn with moss. Yep. Living moss. She tags the sides of buildings and fences with images of prancing animals and hand prints and other things all done in living, growing moss. This talented Hungarian artist creates whimsical scenes in moss that share both her love of nature and the animal patterns so common in eastern European folk art. It beautifies the area and people notice!

Helen Nodding

Helen Nodding of London, England has been creating art on city walls for some time. She says that she is cheered by seeing weeds pushing up through cracks in sidewalks. She makes a mixture with moss and paints city walls. The resulting graffiti grows and fills in and creates unique living art. She also creates tiny dioramas in the cracks between stones and bricks for an exquisite surprise to the attentive passer-by.

Green Graffiti by Helen Nodding
Green Graffiti by Helen Nodding

Moss "Paint" Recipe

So, you think you would like to "green" tag a few of the ugly walls in your city? Here is just one recipe for moss paint....There are others. Once you get the moss growing don't forget you will need to keep checking it to make sure it does not need to be spritzed with water.

  • 1 can of beer
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Several clumps garden moss
  • Blender
  • Plastic container with cover
  • Paint brush
  • Stencil if desired

Mix in blender on lowest speed until you achieve a heavy cream consistency, Pour into your container. You're ready to paint, and grow. Any moist rock or wall that doesn't get much sunlight is a perfect place to create your graffiti. The moss mix can be applied with a stencil or just freehand brushing.

Is Grafitti Art?

New Media

There is not much information on moss graffiti out there but, as an artist, I find the idea of painting with moss fascinating! Imagine the signs that could be created with this living medium, as well as the fact that it is a tactile experience as well.

While some may question whether or not graffiti is an art form, no one can deny that this living graffiti is the best artwork for the environment! It will be interesting to watch to see if this becomes an art phenomena or a passing whim.


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    • profile image

      Ruth Davies 7 years ago

      Graffitti has no outward desire to be seen in the same light as artists in galleries. their work is completly different, it is social comment. It's terrotorial. it's about ownership of space, emotional ownership not financial ownership.

      Pemrission is not the only difference at all.

    • profile image

      Linda Anderson 8 years ago

      One big difference between art and graffitti: permission. We had some wonderful artists here in Austin Texas paint flowers on a bridge. They arrested them & threw them in jail!!!

    • colin mcdermott profile image

      colin mcdermott 9 years ago from Manchester UK

      Hehehe love it!

    • Marye Audet profile image

      Marye Audet 10 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      Thanks for the discussion... :) It always adds alot.

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile image

      Ashok Rajagopalan 10 years ago from Chennai

      Jstankevicz has it right. One man's art is another's mess - consent is the key. Personally, I like graffiti when it is creative, but will not approve of someone painting my walls. Next thing you know, they'll paint our shirts when our back is turned. And who will regulate them? Some really create great works of art; others just do a 'Kilroy was here' kind of scribble.

      All that aside, this green graffiti looks cool, so thanks for this hub!

    • jstankevicz profile image

      jstankevicz 10 years ago from Cave Creek

      The graffiti may well be artistic in execution. The moss creations could be great public art. I’d like to see more of it.

      It comes down to consent. If the "art" is not wanted or commissioned by the owner of the "canvass", then it is graffiti or vandalism. Public art needs some form of public consent. Think of it as your property and somebody decides to decorate it without your approval. The decoration’s artistic quality becomes moot, or likely temporary.

    • Marye Audet profile image

      Marye Audet 10 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      So do you think that graffiti artists working in moss and living materials fall into that same catagory?

      That to me is the real question...should it be considered vandalism to create graffiti with moss?

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 10 years ago from London UK

      Graffiti can be art, but in the same light IS vandalism..

      It's a shame that Graffiti artists are not given space to portray their work on bridges, under bridges, etc, which would look more appealing than just a concrete wall.

    • jstankevicz profile image

      jstankevicz 10 years ago from Cave Creek

      What a great form of urban art, especially for old buildings! Yes, I believe that graffiti can become art, depends on the artists ability and intent. However, much graffiti is more of an idle destruction - a persons mark but a mindless and soulless mark.