Students from Digital Imaging and Art II classes visited the Chicago Cultural Center to see Paint Paste Sticker: Chicago Street Art. The exhibit featured various graffiti and street artists from local neighborhoods. These artists reclaim city streets, museums and other public spaces to make statements about 21st century life, or sometimes to simply break deadening routine by surprising and delighting passersby. The student artists participated in the street art movement by creating signs that encourage people to “STOP, Look and Live Without Dead Time.”
What is dead time? “Time spent doing things that aren’t interesting” or “not being fully engaged in an activity.” What could it mean to “live without dead time”? It is to live life to the fullest.
Using the street sign as a conceptual medium, we explored the intended meanings of street signs. Then we re-imagined what some of those images could mean instead of intended messages. The students then practiced manipulating and subverting the intended message. Utilizing the variety of geometric forms associated with street signs and the bold colors and simplified images of the genre, the students created their own signage with the simple materials of cardboard, construction paper, scissors, glue and X-acto knives.
As a final step to this project, some artists took their signs to the streets to observe how passersby would react when confronted with these slogans. Will the person stop, look and be inspired to live without dead time or will the individual walk right by with deadened eyes?