The article below was just sent to me after a quick Facebook communication with Eddie Colla. Eddie’s reasoning behind using the streets for his work is incredible and should be checked out here. The article, penned in 2007, juxtaposes San Francisco’s history of political posters with what was at that time a rampant increase in illegal postering by our good friends at NPA. From what I understand, SF has been gaining more and more control of their illegal advertising issues through the hard work and dedication of a few people at the Department of Public Works, and other non-profits like San Francisco Beautiful. Proposition D, the privately crafted, pro-billboard measure was decisively defeated at the polls in November of 2009, and shows SF’s continued interest in keeping its streets advertising free.
Commenting on the difference between corporate use of public space versus artistic use in the form of political and socially minded postering, Workman of SF beautiful says, “I prefer that activist posters go up on a designated community board,” and added, “but there’s no way that one political artist can create as much visual noise as the corporate street teams who seem to transform a neighborhood over night.”
To me this is always something we must refer back to when deciding who has access to public space. We want to see advertising leave the public environment, but this does not mean we want to limit the public’s use of that space. This may seem hypocritical but it is not. Individual use of our public environment is a way for residents to communicate with one another. If those communications are put forth by individuals, they do not have the ability to overwhelm our public thoughts in the way that corporate advertising intends to.
VIA El Tecolote
written by obynn Takayama, Nov 15, 2007
In the 1970s and ‘80s, political posters filled the Mission District’s urban landscape. Juan Fuentes started making posters because he said it democratized art. “The power of art is its ability to distribute information. Poster making is more immediate than oil painting, which could take months to finish. So the message could reach more people, faster, with posters.” [More Here]