Sunday, 9 December 2012


Imagine an art form that uses living, respiring material; an art form that creates mini eco-systems in often complex and beautiful patterns. It changes the face of urban landscapes and redefines the term “urban jungle.” It breathes life anew.
Welcome to the world of green graffiti – masterpieces crafted in moss and grass.

Mosstika Urban Greenery is a NYC based collective of eco-minded street artists, using gorilla tactics to evoke the call of man back to nature. We believe that if everyone had a garden of their own to cultivate, we would have a much more balanced relation to our territories. It is with this notion in mind, that we at Mosstika, aim to collide the worlds of art and nature, creating havens of unexpected greenery, within the colder harsher environment. Together we aim to give green guerrilla tactics a new twist by creating works meant to be touched, in turn aiming to touch the souls of all that pass by. We strive to call back to mind a more playful existence, returning man to nature, even among the barren patches of urban existence.

Edina Tokodi
In her art, eco-minded, NY-based installation artist EDINA TOKODI, explores the diversity and intricate connections between nature and the inorganic world created by man. Her site-specific installations are inspired by Japanese Zen gardens and informed by the space's environs, whether organic or man-made. Often sheathed in steel, glass, pavement and stone, the installations provide an unavoidable contrast to their surroundings. It is within this contrasting atmosphere, that her installations invite interaction, thus reclaiming the human bond with nature.
Edina is the founder of Mossitka, a collective of eco-minded street artists dedicated to green guerilla tactics and inspired public art. Mossitka's installations, animated and playfully, call to mind a more familiar, environmentally friendly state breaking down cold urban norms. 

What’s so refreshing about Tokodi’s work is that she urges people to interact with her art, to touch it, feel it, use all the senses in appreciating this environmental and natural art; a far cry from the stiff, sterile art galleries we’re more familiar with.

Mossenger is the brainchild of London-based artist, Anna Garforth. Inspired by guerilla gardening collectives, who aim to enrich dilapidated public spaces, and Andy Goldsworthy, a British artist who creates site-specific art installations from materials and tools found on site, Anna is currently working on an on-going moss street art project.

Anna knew people had been growing for moss for years so when she came across a recipe on the internet she decided to further explore the possibility using it in her art. Realizing the mixture may have taken several weeks to prepare and produce unpredictable results, Anna went for the quick fix, big effect.
Attaching the moss to the wall using completely biodegradable ingredients, the moss will hopefuly colonize and grow.
Anna explains: “This is the first in an on-going project, and I have much experimentation to do in terms of how and where I place it. The piece is the first sentence of a verse. The second sentence of the verse will be made and displayed somewhere else around the city [London] in a couple of weeks time, and so on until the whole verse has been transcribed.”

Moss graffiti and guerilla gardening are no doubt all the rage for colonizing and beautifying neglected patches of the hood. Mosstika has reclaimed abandoned urban lots and transit stations and now Anna Garforth has a strategy for open air moss-typography that is literally a ‘mossenger’ for her poetically green ideas. It’s a synthesis that has resonance beyond street-based practice, as Garforth uses live moss text to spell out her environmental concerns with the hopes of providing a voice for the overlooked and ignored. Civilization’s cries mixed with nature’s persistence are definitely a compelling way to talk about the fragile state of what moves us.

Between drawings and installations, quality materials and salvaged ones, the hybrid work is always a product of the life form and its future prospects.

Resilience and the life forms are in the very heart of her approach.
Resilience, a mechanical characteristic that defines the impact resistance of a material, but taken in psychology, the term defines the ability to build oneself despite traumatic circumstances.

How to deal with reality not as inevitable, but as an open space for a possible rebound. How to remain on the edge of figuration and abstraction, but without deciding on one side or the other, and yet in a constant movement from one to the other.

Tapis rouge is Gaelle Villedary's installation in Jaujac, France for the purposes of  the 10th celebration of the Art and Nature Trail festival. A fresh interpretation of the "red carpet" marks the creator's eventful attempt to reconnect and re-engage inhabitans and tourists with the village and its surroundings. 

Art installation in Jaujac 2011
168 rolls of 420 meters of lawn, 3.5 tons

Patrick Blanc is a French botanist, working at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, where he specializes in plants from tropical forests. He is the modern innovator of the green wall, or vertical garden.

Blanc describes his vertical garden as follows:

On a load-bearing wall or structure is placed a metal frame that supports a PVC plate 10 millimetres (0.39 in) thick, on which are stapled two layers of polyamide felt each 3 millimetres (0.12 in) thick. These layers mimic cliff-growing mosses and support the roots of many plants. A network of pipes controlled by valves provides a nutrient solution containing dissolved minerals needed for plant growth. The felt is soaked by capillary action with this nutrient solution, which flows down the wall by gravity. The roots of the plants take up the nutrients they need, and excess water is collected at the bottom of the wall by a gutter, before being re-injected into the network of pipes: the system works in a closed circuit. Plants are chosen for their ability to grow on this type of environment and depending on available light.

Guerrilla gardening is gardening on land that the gardeners do not have legal right to use, often an abandoned site or area not cared for by anyone. It encompasses a very diverse range of people and motivations, from the enthusiastic gardener who spills over their legal boundaries to the highly political gardener who seeks to provoke change through direct action.
The land that is guerrilla gardened is usually abandoned or neglected by its legal owner. That land is used by guerrilla gardeners to raise plants, frequently focusing on food crops or plants intended to beautify an area. This practice has implications for land rights and land reform; it promotes re-consideration of land ownership in order to reclaim land from perceived neglect or misuse and assign a new purpose to it.

The earliest recorded use of the term guerrilla gardening was by Liz Christy and her Green Guerrilla group in 1973 in the Bowery Houston area of New York. They transformed a derelict private lot into a garden. The space is still cared for by volunteers but now enjoys the protection of the city's parks department.

From the mid-1970s, Adam Purple, a legendary figure in lower Manhattan, created and tended a circular garden (shaped like a yin-yang) in the Lower East Side, in an abandoned lot. In 1986, when it was bulldozed by the City of New York, the garden had overtaken many lots and reached a size of 15,000 square feet.  

Adam Purple is an activist and urban Edenist or "Guerrilla Garderner" famous in New York City from the seventies to the present day. His name at birth was David Wilkie. He is often considered the godfather of the urban gardening movement, and his "Garden of Eden" was a well-known garden on the Lower East Side of Manhattan until it was demolished after considerable controversy.

The image of Adam Purple familiar to New Yorkers in the seventies and eighties was of a man wearing at least one article of purple clothing, and with a thick graying beard, riding a bicycle through Manhattan streets and scooping up manure left by hansom cab horses, which he used to fertilize his urban garden.

 (UK) was created in October 2004 by Richard Reynolds as a blog of his solo guerrilla gardening outside Perronet House, a council block in London's Elephant and Castle district. At the time, his motivations were simply those of a frustrated gardener looking to beautify the neighborhood, but his website attracted the interest of fellow guerrilla gardeners in London and beyond, as well as the world's media. Reynolds's guerrilla gardening has now reached many pockets of South London, and news of his activity has inspired people around the world to get involved. He also works alongside other troops, some local and some who travel to participate. He has also guerrilla-gardened in Libya, Berlin and Montreal.
Today, is still his blog but also includes tips, links and thriving community boards where guerrilla gardeners from around the world are finding supportive locals. His book, On Guerrilla Gardening, which describes and discusses activity in 30 different countries, was published by Bloomsbury Publishing in the UK and USA in May 2008, in Germany in 2009, France in 2010 and South Korea in 2012. He regularly speaks on the subject to audiences and in 2010 launched a campaign focusing specifically on pavements as an opportunity, to 'plant life in your street'.

Seed Bombs

Seedbombs originated in Japan and are an ancient technique called Tsuchi Dango (粘土団子,土団子,土だんご) which means 'Earth Dumpling' which was reintroduced by a Japanese microbiologist in 1938 called Masanobu Fukuoka. Masanobu Fukuoka pioneered the world of sustainable agriculture by initiating 'natural farming'
Natural farming is a philosophy whereby gardening techniques do not include weeding, pesticides, fertilizers or tilling...mother nature is left to take care of the seeds we sow and she decides which crops to provide us with.

"Many people think that when we practice agriculture, nature is helping us in our efforts to grow food. This is an exclusively human-centred viewpoint... we should instead, realize that we are receiving that which nature decides to give us. A farmer does not grow something in the sense that he or she creates it. That human is only a small part of the whole process by which nature expresses its being. The farmer has very little influence over that process... other than being there and doing his or her small part." 
Masanobu Fukuoka                                                                                                                                                                 

Because the Seedbomb has it's own little ball of growing medium the seeds are wrapped in a blanket of earth and protected which also provides nutrients which give the seedlings a good start in life before nature takes over, then the seedlings will work their way out of the Seedbomb and they will be strong and healthy enough to work their way in to some earthy crack in the ground.

In a Seedbomb less seeds are required compared to conventional growing and 'broadcasting'  methods.
Broadcasting seeds in situ leaves the seeds vulnerable and a risk of being eaten or damaged by harsh weather conditions whereas the seeds in a Seedbomb are protected by its earthy coating which acts as a kind of blanket.

The Seedbomb technique is useful for seeding thin and compacted soils (the seeds can germinate in the earth of the bomb instead of trying to penetrate a hard compacted soil)
Seedbombs also protect the seeds from seed eaters such as birds and mice.
As much as 80% of broadcast seeds can be lost by being eaten before they can germinate!
Some natural methods can be used to deter pests such as adding chili powder to your Seedbomb!

Seedbombs are a useful way of dispersing seeds on land that is inaccessible such as wasteland and abandoned lots,  roadsides and even if your planning a green roof.

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