Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Iowa City Graffiti: Free the Slaves

Date: September 29, 2009

To: Graffiti artist / stencil designer

From: Iowa City Dumpster Journal

Re: "Free the Slaves" design

Thank you for your recent contribution to the 700 block of South Gilbert Street. Here are our thoughts with regard to your submission:

Although your graphic design is clear and effective, the message of your graffito is unclear on several counts.

1. We would like specifics about which slaves are to be freed.

2. We would like to see a more precise definition of "free" in this context. Do you mean "having nothing left to lose?" The ability to attend, or not attend, a church of one's preference? Unregulated capitalism? The capacity to make a living?

3. We would like some kind of guidance as to how this freeing is to be accomplished (at what time? Using what methods? In conjunction with which, if any, governmental or international agencies?).

4. We would like clarification as to whether you mean "the slaves" to be understood as all slaves, everywhere, or some particular subgroup of slaves.

We encourage you to resubmit a piece which addresses these concerns. You may find it useful to revisit our guidelines for new submitters, currently located on the dumpsters in the Kum & Go parking lot at the corner of E Burlington St and S Gilbert St, in Iowa City. We appreciate your interest in publication in the Iowa City Dumpster Journal.


Lzyjo said...

Hmmmm, how can something be clear and effective, yet unclear at the same time! I think it is a fine graffito.

Anonymous said...

Looks like it's just these guys' logo:
So was this actually on a dumpster? That's one weird place for it :)

mr_subjunctive said...


Well the image is clear, striking, memorable, etc., but the message is memorable but ambiguous, for the reasons I gave in the post. I mean, the post was kind of tongue-in-cheek, but still. They could at least have included a URL, if they were going to the trouble of making stencils anyway.


I suppose I should have known it would be out there somewhere. Thanks for showing that to me.

Yes, it was on a dumpster. It's a pretty old photo, though; no idea whether it's still there. Probably not.

our friend Ben said...

Ha!!! Priceless post, Mr. S.! Dumpsters and graffiti do seem to go together like white on rice, don't they? There's a great Viking image on one in nearby Kutztown that never fails to cheer me up.

our friend Ben said...

Back again to say congrats on PATSP's Blotanical win. Go Mr. S.!!!!!

german said...

QUALITY I really like this, it reminds me of a graffiti artist I saw at http://www.hire-a-graffiti-artist.co.uk their is a few more good graffiti artists on the site.