Previous month:
March 2009
Next month:
May 2009

Keepsix Collective - murals 'r us

As my fans know, I've long been a promoter of graffiti murals - street art - as a tool to clean up and beautify an area, prevent repeat tagging, reduce costs of fines and repeated priming, and involve youth and residents in improving their neighbourhood together.

I've been working at this in Toronto with Community CAVE for a couple years, and with Const. Scott Mills there, and basically on my own here in Ottawa. Recently I've hooked up here with the Keepsix Collective  - a group that will connect up street artists with residents and businesses. Mike G. runs it as part of his Keepsix site, has the artist connections, and has worked on commercial projects. I bring business skills, customer liaison, and experience on similar projects. And I can work both with the customers and the young artists to ensure a smooth project. Our service will add continuity and some business structure and documentation, while still focusing on the young artists and delivering a quick but quality response. 

Our first project was a 75 x 9 foot wall along the pool at the Jack Purcell Community Centre. Quick response, good cooperation, beautiful mural, and a happy customer. I'll post separately.

Here's what's on the Keepsix Collective site:

The Keepsix Collective is a service that connects residents and businesses with artists. We specialize in providing local street artists with a legal opportunity to beautify the city space around them. We are a volunteer run service with a team of experienced yet reasonably priced artists that are here to help curb the costs incurred by the new graffiti by law. Their murals are a colourful mix of artistic styles and scenes, designed along with the customer and conforming to local bylaws.

Continue reading "Keepsix Collective - murals 'r us" »

Ottawa mural consultation

Consultation on proposed mural initiatives under the Ottawa Graffiti Management Plan

The City of Ottawa sent out a request this week for feedback on their proposed mural initiatives. They seems to be heading in the right direction, and include an annual budget  of $50,000. We'll see what the final proposal in August looks like.

As many know in my work I focus on murals done by local graffiti artists, using a mix of lettering styles and other artistic elements. While any mural will deter tagging- whether done by graffiti artists or a local public school class or professional painter - using local graffiti artists gives them a way to work with property owners as part of the solution, to showcase their art, to contribute to their community, to redirect their efforts into mural work, to have the time to develop their talents and mentor others, and to make money.

I'm not sure who this request was sent to, I did receive forwarded copies from several of my contacts. I couldn't find a copy on the public City of Ottawa website, so I've attached a copy of the comment sheet here. Please take a look, pass it around, and submit by April 17/09. And do plan on attending their presentation to Council, in August, to show your involvement face to face.  Download Community consultation Ottawa murals

I have several concerns with the proposal, including:

  • allowing (and funding) murals on residential properties are not mentioned,
  • $10,000 per project is 1/5 of the total budget and I think way too much for one mural,
  • while it's great that a permit is no longer needed, there should be guidelines or a process to ensure that the bylaws officers won’t show up after a mural is done and declare it is graffiti and has to go,
  • the Allocation committee “mix” needs to be defined, to ensure it has a balanced representation, including the art community and youth,
  • the program should not just target youth that are at risk or unemployed,
  •  while staff has said they have conducted research on mural programs and other aspects of this, more details on this should be made available. With their stated biases in this area there is a risk that this research has been targeted to enforce a particular bias, with sources fed mainly by selective research summaries from other like-minded groups,
  • they refer to a "4E" model, they missed Toronto's 5th E - Economic Development, as shown here on the Toronto Police Services site, with links to some good resources.  Ottawa staff also missed meeting with Cst. Scott Mills in Toronto, the TPS Legal Graffiti Art Coordinator.

I'll add my actual comment form later in here.

The cover letter is as follows:

Continue reading "Ottawa mural consultation" »

Praying Computers

Recently in the Globe & Mail I found a note about the Information Age Prayer site. Not an April Fools prank, as far as I know, whois shows the domain registered in Chesterville, PA since March 3rd of this year. 

For $4.95 a month they will say three prayers a day for you. Or more accurately their computers will prey pray. The company states, "We use state-of-the-art text-to-speech synthesizers to voice each prayer at a volume and speed equivalent to [a] typical person praying. Each prayer is voiced individually, with the name of the subscriber displayed on screen." They add, "it gives you the satisfaction of knowing that your prayers will always be said even if you wake up late, or forget."
I looked at the site - there's a sale on Prayers for World Peace, only $3.95 a month. Or spend $3.95 every month to pray for Economic Stability.

Some might say this is a rip-off, but the consumer believes they are buying a real product, and getting a benefit from it. Recent studies suggest there is little agreement on the effectiveness of prayer to heal (or not), but I would think the consumer would not likely want to get into that. Challenging the effectiveness of prayer might imply that they lacked faith. Now if someone had a similar service at 99 cents a month (maybe via the Itunes store) then I would say this $4.95 (US) one was a rip off. If the expense bothers you, what's to prevent you from downloading prayers and setting up your IPOD to play them at fixed intervals?

Continue reading "Praying Computers" »