moss graffiti grows on walls by anna garforth
all images courtesy / © anna garforth
in an unusal take on traditional, spray-paint-approved wall art, anna garforth‘s moss graffiti emerges from brick walls as fuzzy layers of green grass. garforth creates typography and massive geometric designs and patterns with the living material, whose growth and flowering becomes a significant part of the constantly evolving piece. designboom asked anna about her creative influences, creation process, and what led her to the natural medium for her graffiti artworks.
DB: please can you tell us about your background and how you came to do the type of work you do today?
AG: ironically, working with living materials was inspired by a trip to abney park cemetery – a woodland memorial and local nature reserve. I was fascinated by the beautiful script and moss that covers the grave stones, one stone had moss growing inside the carved out letters and it looked amazing. I collected moss from the surrounding gravestones and started to experiment, moss typography was born! from that trip the seed was planted, and the moss gave way to experimenting with many other materials and concepts that I am working on today.
the moss graffiti spells out the word ‘grow’ in a script typeface
DB: what do you find is the most effective method for creating the moss compositions on the wall?
AG: everyone is keen to try and recreate moss typography, but I am afraid I cannot give away my tricks of the trade! what keeps my work unique is the precision of the moss art. This comes from years of working with the material.
‘natur’, growing from the wall
DB: what do you enjoy most about working with natural mediums?
AG: I enjoy the tactility of working with organic mediums and learning how to craft it into something else. no harmful toxins or bad fumes are involved. It takes me to interesting places both through the process and working on commissions around europe. above all it gets a really positive response and people love it!
a detail of the letter ‘r’, before it is placed on the wall
DB: how does typography, and other forms of graphic design, factor into your creative process?
AG: I notice typography everywhere, especially on shop fronts and old painted adverts on the sides of buildings. typography is an art form and often doesn’t need anything else around it. my guilty geek pleasure is scrolling through font lists online, there are so many great type foundries with reams of fonts. the term ‘graphic design’ has become very broad, and encompasses so many different ways of working. seeing how other designers have lifted their ideas off the page, inspired me to explore the more tactile and craft based side to graphic design. the handmade seems to play a significant role in design and creatives seem to be veering more and more towards the hands on approach, but a computer is never far behind, mixing technology with the handmade makes for a great synthesis, often one can enhance the other. a healthy balance of the two works well.
a geometric installation at kings cross
DB: how do you see your work evolving, and what has been the evolution so far?
AG: the moss art so far has evolved into non typographic installations such as kings cross and the big bang. I have put moss typography on the back burner as there are new ideas to be had. from the moss came a love for working with raw materials, and I started to explore with different mediums such as cookie dough, paper, card, bioluminescent bacteria, wood etc. I want to continue to experiment with other materials, and I have a few projects in mind which will be stuff I haven’t ventured into before. my work aims to reflect the textured world we live in where many different species, plants, and manmade elements coexist.
a close-up of the zig-zag pattern on the wall
DB: besides your professional work – what do you have a passion for?
AG: I have an obsession with seedums, this species of plant really cuts the mustard for me. I absolutely love the graphic shapes and clean lines of the foliage.
‘the big bang’, assembled from hundreds of moss tufts collected from stone walls
a detail of the moss used for ‘the big bang’