Apr 012011

The DC Department of Public Works (DPW) is searching for mural sites in all DC Wards to be considered for the MuralsDC program from June-August 2011. MuralsDC is a partnership between DPW and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) – created to help replace illegal graffiti with artistic works, to revitalize the DC community, and engage DC youth.

MuralsDC DCCAH DC DPW Adams Morgan

There are currently 27 MuralsDC projects throughout the District. Each tell a unique story of DC’s diverse neighborhoods while deterring further illegal graffiti. DPW and DCCAH will focus on sites that are frequent targets of graffiti.

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Mar 212011

It’s exciting to find a fresh new mural in DC, like this one we stumbled on while walking around the city last week. A friend says “the pieces were done for 368 music group artist Da Phuture for his single Stupid Dope Moves, as a custom paint job by Art Under Pressure. Also featured in the picture is “2” by Cave and “Dali” by SLR.”

Phuture Dro Boiz Stupid Dope Moves Mural Washington DC Graffiti

It’s rare to find a mural that’s so bright, clean and spacious. Writers and crews often fit as much as possible onto available wall space, even spilling over like you see on the pavement at the bottom of “Moves”. Graffiti style in general tends to be wild and crazy. It’s cool to see the contrast of clean wall space and color that allows the styles in the lettering and character to really come through on the mural.

Below, the music video the mural was produced for. Note, lyrics NSFW:


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Jan 032011

We’re collecting photos of graffiti + advertising in Washington DC to catalog the influence of cultural arts in the media, marketing, community + politics of America’s Capital. Our first week features some great shots thanks to readers A.W. and Flickr user hch0007.

Got a shot for Reader Pics? Click here to submit your photos!

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Aug 092010

Kelly Towles recently created Scout at 12th + W St. NW, shortly followed by a video of the installation produced by Sebastien Tobler. Provided by the artist, ReadySetDC writes “[t]he mural and short film explore a DC neighborhood with a child like sense of exploration. A quick take on what most people should do in their own area of the city. Enjoy!”

'Scout" by Kelly Towles

Watch video: SCOUT from Kelly Towles on Vimeo.

Jun 102010

Seen this poster pasted around DC recently? The image has cropped up all over the city in the past few weeks, with the quote:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocked fired signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed”

— President Dwight Eisenhower

Refugee + Eisenhower Quote

The poster brings us back to the real meaning of “innocent bystanders” in Heineken’s coy ad pitch – and illustrates yet again the influence of art in media. That influence, of art and counterculture in mainstream marketing, is what sparked our new Ad/Remix series for eSocialMediaShop.

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Mar 092010

By Flickr user LaTur (click for more)

Guest post by kiramarch.

It’s been a hot event since the very beginning. That first year, we waited in the cramped stairwell forever while an apologetic DCist crew, awed by the turnout, handed out free beer.

That was 2007. This year, even the 5,000-sq-ft Longview Gallery was pushed to the limit. At 6:45, there was a 45-minute wait to get in, and DCist reports a crowd of 1,800 people.

But for me, the headline was the quality of the photos. The first couple years, I dutifully sorted through my photos, got opinions from friends, and submitted my best shots. I remember thinking there were some great photos in the pool, but mine at least stood a chance of getting picked.

Not anymore.

I didn’t make it through the whole exhibit on Saturday (too many people, too many fancy liquor samples), but here are a few I lingered over:

By Flickr user Alex Barth (click for more)

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 Posted by at 3:49 am
Dec 282009

Graffiti draws a remarkable counterpart to marketing and advertising. Memorable street campaigns take the same creativity, consistency, branding and visibility needed to make marketing work.

DC Graffiti

Street artists are marketers gone rogue (also a popular theme of the year) – developing and executing creative concepts, many with a specific and often populist tone. Like it or not, the closer you look, the more of a message there is to see in the details of graffiti.

Four Mile Run Bridge 2

Practice Wall 4

Four Mile Run Bridge

Practice Wall 2

Practice Wall 3

DC represented big in 2009, and themes in our graffiti and street art reflected important, meaningful local issues: problems of homelessness, DC’s non-state status, and few (but expanding) outlets for public art. Check out a full photo set of the year in DC graffiti on Flickr.

These are the freshest names and stand out styles in DC graffiti:

Names Up Everywhere:




CHE1 CHE2 CHE+JAKE+Chinatown










Click here to see a Flickr photo set of the year in DC graffiti.

Top Creative in DC Graffiti:


Fill: REZIST. (Next: JAKE). REZIST’s fill-ins are always crazy colorful – and legible. Same with JAKE, who tones down the new school funk and maintains a wild style.



Bomb: CHE. (Next: MOE). A close call but easy to pick. MOE may have more tags up, but CHE is mighty close – with bigger fill-ins and better, riskier, more visible spots. MOE tagged Adams Morgan’s mural on DC’s non-state status – an ironic, shady move to deface a message the rest of DC’s graffiti seems to be all about. Watching CHE and MOE get up this year was like watching the good guy vs. the bad guy – and here, the good guy wins.



Spot: JAKE. (Next: CHE). JAKE is up in the undisputedly best spot in DC – in the middle of the Patomac River on Georgetown’s Key Bridge. To hit the spot, JAKE had to either get a boat, or haul gallons of paint and loads of supplies under the bridge span across its huge arcs, starting at several chainlink fences directly next to the US Park Police office. JAKE’s piece is one of the most visible in the District, in a place that’s the antithesis of graffiti – squeaky clean, picture perfect Georgetown. A huge hassle, if not nearly impossible to remove. It epitomizes graffiti in a clean, simple, colorful piece that carries impressive implications in logistics and location.




Stencil: RVLTN. (Next: 51). Stencil images hit the streets of DC to illuminate two big issues in DC: homelessness and political representation. Amidst the toughest economic time in decades, DC slashed funding to social services that help the homeless. Next, the 51 stencil hit corners and street boxes with a simple, clear, concise message: make DC the 51st state – no matter how our vote tips the political scales.


PEEPSPoster: DECOY (Next: DIABETIK). DECOY covered more DC walls than any other poster artist this year with a distinct style that’s easy to spot. DECOY was part of an awesome cartoon poster campaign in early December at 14th/T (already removed!) along with the next pick: Peeps. All year, poster Peeps popped up all over the place in DC.


Sticker: Crook. This sticker is iconic of everything about graffiti and Washington DC: free speech, politics, corruption and dissent. The sticker’s amazing wit calls attention to the fundamental issues in both graffiti and politics – and common to us all: open access, free speech, expression, opportunity, and equality.


A full photo set of the year in DC’s graffiti is posted on Flickr.

Something missing? Leave a comment and links to pics of your favorite DC graffiti!

Nov 252009

DC Commission on Arts & Humanities recently commissioned mural artist Joel Bergner to paint Bloombars – a small community arts space in Columbia Heights, DC. Joel’s mural tells the story of a Felipe, a boy living in the “Favela (shantytown) City of God in Brazil.”

Felipe's Story Mural at Bloombars

Felipe's Story Mural by Joel Bergner at Bloombars art space in Columbia Heights, DC

The image was created with an easy process in Photoshop, explained by DC-area Adobe guru Richard Harrington of the agency RHED Pixel – in a workshop on Photoshop for Motion Design at the 2009 DC Motion Graphics Festival.

To create the full image, four portrait-aspect (vertical) photos are combined in Photoshop by:

  1. Add all photos as individual layers to one Photoshop doc + select all layers.
  2. [click] EDIT >> AUTO-ALIGN LAYERS… (Photoshop will arrange all of the photos).
  3. [click] EDIT >> AUTO-BLEND LAYERS… (Photoshop will smooth out photo edges).

The process works best with about 40% overlap between single photos when shooting by hand, or by rotating a tripod head about 15° for panoramic or 360° images, according to Harrington.

Harrington’s Photoshop for Video Blog features hundreds more tips on cool tricks in Photoshop, at http://www.photoshopforvideo.com/.