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In our times, to receive a letter – I mean the one hand written – is an outdated and rare event. The japanese design studio eding:post and the botanical shop neo-green collaborated to try to bring back people to this practice and, at the same time, closer with nature. They created the leaf letter, a leaf-shaped postcard.
This idea was born from the old japanese postcard: in fact, the term “hagaki”, letter, is said to find its origin in the world “ha”, leaf. Indeed, in ancient Japan people use to get leaves as paper and send their messages folding the leaf as a letter.
Neo-green and eding:post have brought the old hagaki practice in our times, turning it into a modern and original writing paper. To set down our thoughts on leaves seems indeed less cold than writing them on a screen, so, next time, even if delivering times are going to be longer, we want to give nature a chance.

Images taken from www.designboom.com

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We always talk about the relationship between art and nature and how the artists try to merge these two realities, but this time we’ll try to turn roles upside-down and show how Nature itself can be the real protagonist of the art scene thanks to the project Tree drawings of the british artist Tim Knowles. He describes his project as “A series of drawings produced using drawing implements attached to the tips of tree branches, the wind’s effects on the tree, recorded on paper.  Like signatures each drawing reveals the different qualities and characteristics of each tree.”. We believe his work clearly shows how it’s possible to cross the boundaries of contemporary art, turning the artist into a co-protagonist and “editor” of nature: if long time ago landscape was only painted on a canvas closed by a picture frame and later it started to dialogue with arts through land art and installations, nowadays it is becoming the indispensable condition for the realization of the works. The artist plays the role of the curator, leaving the tree full freedom of invention.

Images taken from timknowles.co.uk

COMMONStudio, based in Los Angeles, created a funny installation called Greenaid. They transformed a candy machine into a dispenser of seed bombs, making the “battle” of Guerrilla Gardening more accessible to everybody. Instead of useless small toys or unhealthy gummy bears, we would find an alternative way to make our cities greener. In the webpage of the studio it is possible to purchase a machine that you are supposed to “simply place […] at your local bar, business, school, park, or anywhere that you think it can have the most impact. We will then supply you with all the seed bombs you need to support the continued success of the initiative.”

Images taken from thecommonstudio.com

We like this kind of initiatives, but we want also give to Caesar what is Ceasar’s. So, let’s jump a little back. In 2006, during the Design Expo in Milan, the artist Ettore Favini, working since years in the relationship between man and nature, was called to participate to Green Island workshop. He came out with an installation which aim was to make green more accessible on an everyday level. He put on the platform number eight of Garibaldi train station in Milan a machine selling transparent capsules, in which he previously placed seeds of different kinds of trees and a little piece of paper where he explained how to take care of the plants. He also wrote an e-mail address, where eventually people could send the coordinates of the place where the tree was planted, in order to create a map of the growing green. The installation tries to involve people, in a direct interaction, into a project of “reforestation”, inviting them to participate in the creation of  DIY green areas.

We believe that this form of interaction is a good choice for the health of our cities and, at the same time, gives the citiziens an important role as a protagonist and co-author of public space.

Image taken from verdecuratoda.it

The definition of Street Art contains in itself different realities, but what I am always happy to find out are DIY urban interventions with different kinds of installations and performances, rather than the typical and most common street art made of stencils and graffiti.

I am usually not interested in the work of most of the street artists (but I do recognize some of them as great, like Shepard Fairy: we are all thankful not only for the Barak Obama “Hope”, but also for the tribute to Johnny Cash with the Walk The Line  movie cover), however, in this huge crowd, I’d like to mention a canadian street artist, Peter Gibson, known as Roadsworth.

What It’s noteworthy in his work is the playful game between stencils and the road marks, that goes straight to that level of interaction that performances and installations usually provide.

Image taken from http://roadsworth.com

What I see in his language is the willing to improve the limited language of city’s street by adding elements of visual information that transform boring signs into funny images, in order to catch people’s attention. Painting over city asphalt marks with his stencils, he gives the roads a new face to play with.

In his drawings, he prefers to use a subtile irony rather than the abundant violence we so often find in much of the works of street artists. As he explain in his website “In the spirit of Marcel Duchamps, all I had to do was paint a mustache on the Mona Lisa so to speak, to introduce a glitch in the matrix”.

In 2009, a movie about Roadsworth was realized, titled Crossing the Line. Making movies about street art, in these last years, looks like something fashion and I am worried it could be ephemeral (from Beautiful Loser to The Ephemeral Rebellion, from Bomb It to Exit Through The Gift Shop), but maybe we can give it a chance.

Everyone can be an artist and every location an atelier: this is the project of Windowzoo, a new typology of urban landscape intervention. Till Bay, a software architect from Zurich, found in the stickers his art and in the glass his medium: his work consists in leaving animal-shaped stickers upon the windows of the cities. Thanks to him, we can see birds, bears or sharks on the glass of a bus stop, on a bar’s window, in a museum, at the stadium, at the aquarium and even  at the top of Milan’s cathedral dome.

The peculiarity of these stickers is their interaction in different scales with the landscape beyond the glass, so, if watched from a certain perspective, we can see, for example, a flamingo balancing on a fence, or some sea horses swimming among skyscrapers. The photographic medium is of course very important in traslating these small installations in the way the artist planned to do. Also, the context becomes indispensable for the work of art itself.

In these years Windowzoo became a community art project, everyone can download a little photo-manual to create other new birds and set them free in many other countries. So far, the project involved 603 cities all around the world and all the actions are connected thanks to the web.

Hitchcock was right, the Birds started their migration.

Images taken from http://www.flickr.com/groups/windowzoo/pool/

“A crack in the wall, if viewed in terms of scale, not size, could be called the Grand Canyon. […] Size determines an object, but scale determines art.”

The quote is from Robert Smithson and is a good way to open a blog not about objects, but about art. Art as seen everyday in the street and (sometimes) beyond the glass of the galleries. It does not really matter where it comes from or whether if is included in any “golden list” or either recognized by a grown-up or young-talented curator. We want to talk about art beyond the official size, made by the people to the people, inside or outside the museums. Pure beauty or pure critic, 1 or 1000 meters, if it’s worth then you’ll see it.