Project: Guerilla Art

The Guerilla Art Kit

Your task this week, should you choose to accept it, is to do everything in The Guerilla Art Kit (available at Amazon, Powells, SFMoma, and your local bookstore) by Keri Smith. Maybe doing everything is a little ambitious, but we exhort you to try these projects, or at least read the book.

We recently got a copy. We had to, since it had the subtitle “for fun, non-profit, and world domination.” Being in the world domination business ourselves, it’s important to know the competition. It turns out that she’s good. Very good.

The book itself is petite, with a spine evocative of duct tape. Lovely paper and a double wire binding make it a pleasure to hold and read. A combination of entertaining typesetting, hand lettering, line drawing and collage make for a visually appealing and thematically perfect appearance. The projects are often whimsical, and more importantly, doable. The book is divided into sections such as how to, exercises, and templates. There is even a section on etiquette.

The Guerilla Art Kit
I found this book to be philosophically refreshing. She underscores the importance of transience and anonymity as characteristics of guerilla art. With a do no harm sort of attitude, many suggested projects involve innocuous ingredients like chalk, leaves, and paper.
She brings up arguments for a more complete understanding of how we interact with our environment: “Guerilla art offers an alternative to the glut of corporate imagery we are faced with every day in the form of advertisements urging us to buy stuff. It can actually alter and add to the cultural landscape of an area. Many artists see it not only as a form of personal expression but also as a way of creating community within their neighborhoods”
The Guerilla Art Kit

The corporate speak that does manage to infiltrate this book, such as a disclaimer that they are not responsible for your actions, is thoughtfully rephrased as “you are on your own.” The standard declaration that “no part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission from the publisher” is carefully subverted by the author with explicit permission within the pages of the book, such as “Stencil artwork for you to use. Blow up to desired size.”

This book is designed to be used. To be cut up, pasted, flipped through. So use it! Be inspired by it. Cut it up. Make stickers. Leave objects to be found. Interact with your world.

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