You could also call it clean graffiti, because rather than applying a new layer of aerosol-spray colour to public surfaces, reverse graffiti removes what is there already – the grime and dirt of the street.
Graffiti has always been an inherently rebellious form of expression and can be seen as vandalism, dependent on its context. What I love about reverse graffiti is that it is just as rebellious as traditional graffiti, but does so by subverting its own genre. Rather than adding toxins to the environment through the use of spray cans, the reverse graffiti artist uses cleaning products to remove the dirt that is already there. It has a similarly striking visual impact – yet how can anyone object to a public art which leaves the space cleaner than it was before it existed?
Because it is so unusual it could potentially be a more effective ‘graffiti-as-art’ form of expression than the spray-can variety (unless your name is Banksy, of course!). It also has the advantage of an inbuilt ‘green’ message and by its very nature comments on the state of the environment, irrespective of the message of the image created. This could stimulate an interesting dichotomy in the hands of a proper artist.
Unfortunately, due to it’s ‘clean’ image Reverse Graffiti is being hijacked by commercial company’s for advertising – which is of course hugely anti-rebellious and may well scupper the future of an otherwise interesting art-form!