Street Art

Tonight The Pavements Are Ours

One of the many justifications given by street artists for their wanton abuse of other people’s property is that it’s a response, a push back against the use of the public visual space to host corporate propaganda, known in the indoctrinating the masses trade as advertising. One of Graffoto’s favourite proponents of advertising resistance is dr.d who has long chosen to turn the enemies’ tactics against themselves; his subversion, sedition and perversion of the political sphere is frequently conducted on hijacked billboards and street signage.

Dr D - HMP London
dr.d, Dalston, 2010

Now, in partnership with Chu, another English graffiti writer and artist whose work we have long admired, see the stunning rooftop anamorphic street scene below, Worship The Ground has been established to allow anyone to have a short message temporarily painted on the streets.

Chu – Cordy House, 2010

In their own words:

A pioneering, personal street art message delivery service launches this month.

Worship The Ground (WTG) is a brand new online service, empowering members of the public to order a written phrase or slogan for any location on the ground. WTG will first launch in London and Bristol, with Brighton and Manchester soon to follow. The new company is co-founded by Chu and dr.d, two legendary wordsmiths known for their work in the public environment.

photo courtesy Worship The Ground

WTG works for good people and good causes. Direct Messages are for personal use only, advertisers need not apply. WTG can write on the pavement whatever you can write on paper, up to 100 characters in a choice from one of ten bright colours. The new website is now available to visit at Until Friday February 28th, visitors can use the discount coupon code “worshiptheground” at the checkout stage for a fifty percent off the basket total.
dr.d explains “Our Direct Message gift is useful for celebrating a birthday written on someone’s route to their workplace, or declarations of love between couples outside their front door. They could write messages of frustration with a football fans manager outside the team’s ground, and crucially our service is to get any message across by making someone’s day, or not.”

photo courtesy Worship The Ground

WTG have already helped to champion good causes in conjunction with the Mayor of London’s anti knife crime initiative (#LondonNeedsYouAlive) and the homelessness charity Centrepoint (#BleakFriday). {end quote}

Many of you may recognise the title of this post as a paraphrasing of the Richard Hawley song “Tonight The Streets Are Ours”, used as the theme tune to Banksy’s street art mockumentory Exit Through The Gift Shop. Worship The Ground are offering exactly that, your message on the pavements, max 100 characters, with no risk of you getting caught red handed. Or green handed, or white handed or any of the ten colours the service is offered in.

photo courtesy Worship The Ground

If you are concerned about the legality of this, let’s just say that perhaps you don’t have the right cheeky sense of humour required to appreciate the opportunities presented here and which lies at the heart of a large slew of street art. The Worship The Ground website says, and their FAQs (“this section is devoted to the word “no”) are well worth reading for a laugh, “Can I get arrested for booking a text message?
Answer: No – it is a lawful requirement for us to cleanse any markings within 48 hours of notification, unless the rain and/or traffic has worn it away already.”

photo courtesy Worship The Ground

dr.d is not known for his expertise in advising and interpreting the law or even being aware of its existence but there is perhaps a relevant analogy in the world of flyposting. All those illegal adverts for raves, records and recreational activities feature a lot major corporates using illegal flyposting as part of their eyeball reach manoeuvres but it’s not those companies that get into trouble and it is not even the advertising companies that commission the flyposting organisations that get into trouble, if anyone gets into trouble it is the flyposting teams. Perhaps people using Worship The Ground’s service have a similar degree of separation between themselves and some kind of offense.

Dr D sees things from every angle

Graffoto is noted for its complete legal incompetence and nothing said on here should be treated as a get out of jail free card. But like we hinted at earlier, if you do intend to take legal advise first then this really isn’t going to fit your Valentine’s Day cupid strategy. In fact why are you still reading this? Be gone. Unsubscribe!

photo courtesy Worship The Ground

Worship The Ground website
dr.d website
Chu website
All photos Dave Stuart except courtesy Worship The Ground website where noted

0 replies on “Tonight The Pavements Are Ours”

Can't quite get my head around this one Dave!!!….. Kind of a sell out on one hand and a bloody good idea on the other.. My concern is of the commercialism being given to street art with this project! If there were hundreds of these about I'm sure the impact would become very tacky and then every Tom, Dick and Harry would get on the act…. The advertising junkies might slip in thru the backdoor and pollute the world with even more crap to sell us… And we all hate stepping in crap on the best of days.. So really enjoyed reading your post but find myself sitting on the fence here… "Thinking did I miss seeing the wet paint sign below" ~ I think if I placed an order it would say…… "Have you just gone one step too far…?"

Hi Mitch – I completely agree with you, there are a lost of such ironies in street art, such as it on the one hand being an outsider culture but on the other hand being preoccupied with its public audience. The idea of using billboards to promote an anti advertising has to be done with some care! It seems that these guys have debated this dilemma and set up a few hard lines, particularly "no corporate advertising". Unfortunately the genie escaped the lamp on that one ages ago, we constantly see both spray painted and reverse graffiti (jet sprayed) guerilla advertising on the pavements. Let's hope Worship The Ground does avoid being used for advertising and is just used for charming statements from exhibitionists with pennies to spare.

Talk about marketing…. The big V day falls bang on this start up. I guess I'm just going to have to "Walk On By"… and "Not Look Back In Anger"… I had to check the calendar as I thought is this an April fools farce for hipsters to spend their dosh on!!!!? Off the fence now as the more I think about it the more I don't like it… But I do wish the guys good luck as I do not want to step on any toes.

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