Creative Action Styling: Street Art for Street Actions

June 9, 2016 |  By nadia |  Categories: Case Studies

Street actions have a new look which are designed to engage, be accessible, be safe for a diverse range of people,  and have many levels of engagement, interaction and yes, some fun too.

January 2015 was the height of allied solidarity actions in support of Black Lives Matter. Here in Oakland the Third World Resistance coalition designed an action at the Federal Building in honor of the real heritage of Martin Luther King, Jr. This action was multi-level so that the young, the elderly and immigrants who are not US citizens could still safely engage in the action. It incorporated direct action, culture, a balloon banner and a portable chalk mural. Design Action member Ivy Climacosa designed and styled this action with Asians 4 Black Lives arts & culture committee.

The visuals were designed to draw in media and pedestrian traffic from a distance and make the space more accessible and less intimidating. This multi-level action also meant it was on different planes of vision – from the giant balloon banner up high, to the main focus of a multinational group locking themselves to  the doors of the building and shutting it down, to the emcees, the music, ritual and speakers, hand signs where people can add the community they identified with and to the ground where the 6×8 chalk banner lay, so that children could engage in the action through play, design and color.

Federal Building chalk banner action

photo: Lucia Lin

The mural was a posterization of MLK, the outline was pre-drawn, and the spaces to color in were presented like a paint-by-number (to try to maintain some artistic control of it ;). Once the action was over, this chalk banner could go with them to be used to decorate space.

Chalk banner outline

photo: Lucia Lin

San Francisco Immigrant Legal and Education Network was inspired by this action, so they approached us to design and layout a chalk mural for the Immigrant Family Day rally.  We modified the graphic they use for their logo, and prepared a 9×12 banner for the community to engage in at the rally in front of SF City Hall.

SFILEN banner

photo: SFILEN

Materials are easy to get at the home improvement store. We used a canvas drop cloth, primer, and chalkboard paint. The preparation of this banner probably took about 15 hours including the shopping and transporting, canvas prep, painting and the actual outline of the image.

SFILEN drawing the banner

photo: SFILEN

We also provided a full color guide and marked the names of the chalk colors for each section of the illustration. Community members colored the banner while the rally happened in front of the steps of City Hall.  A bright and vivacious banner was displayed at SF City Hall that day!

For chalk murals and the appearance of 3 dimensions street art, check out Chalk Riot.

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