March 29, 2003

Things to do in a Boring Suburban Town: Instalment One

by Ryan

  I hate the suburbs. There is nothing to do. The flocks of trend hopping, corporate, radio-listening "cool" kids from your
school or work all went to a super cool party where they’ll all forget their pointless existence in a flood of alcohol. But this
article isn’t about them. You’re broke, you hate the mall, and you’ve got some built up energy you have to release. I’m gonna
give everybody out there some cheap, car free ways to spend a fun night.

Wheat Pasting

Postering your town with semi-permanent pieces of art is a great and cheap way to spend a night. Posters can be used to get a
political message across, announce an upcoming show, spread art or just to shock and offend people.

The first thing you’ll need is a poster. This is one of the best parts. There are no real rules on what you can and cannot do, but
there are some things you should keep in mind. Unless you have gobs of cash lying around (which you don’t because this article isn’t
for people like that, and besides, everything closes at 9:00 in your town) you’re gonna be photocopying your posters, so keep the
images simple, but make them bold and eye attracting. Xerox’s don’t do half tones and shades very well, so use contrast and
balancing white and dark spaces to your advantage. If you want people to read your poster, use a large bold font(something like
impact) to attract attention. Use irony or humor or shock to get people to read the rest. It is also becoming very trendy in
graffiti art circles to use posters to get up, so maybe you can make up a tag for yourself and make some cool posters for you to get
recognition. Other good ideas for posters include old clip art out of magazines because it is easily enlarged on photocopiers, or
disliked political figures, because there are lots of pictures of them in the papers. You can get creative with the sizes, just
remember that photocopiers only do letter, legal, and ledger, so you might have some limitations.

Now go down to the copy shop, or if it’s later, the corner store, to make some copies. Make 25 - 100 depending on how many you want
up, and how long you have. Putting up 50 posters takes longer than you’d think. If you’re at a copy shop or a place like Staples,
you also have many colour options you can use, but those cost more money and the point of this article is to provide cheap ideas.
When you make your copies, you can often cut some costs by "rounding down" the number of copies you made. The person making $8 an
hour doesn’t care whether you have 25 copies or 50, they just wanna get you through so they can go on their break. They’ll never
count. Don’t go overboard though, they’re not retarded.

Now for the paste. There are a couple methods. I personally just mix in one cup flour to one and half cups water(approximately). Then
I’ll stir it up until it’s spreadable, but not too runny and add water or flour as needed. You can also cook it, but I’ve never done
that and my posters tend to stay up fine. This method should make a clearer, more consistent paste though. Mix one cup flour to one
and a half cup water, stir to remove lumps, heat to boil until it thickens, and add more water until it turns into a thick, clear
goop. Cook it at low heat for half an hour or more, but be careful not to burn it. To put up a large amount of posters (75) make a
bout half an ice cream pail of paste. Ice cream pails are handy because you can re-use them, and they have lids for transportation.

Next you need to find a wide paint brush to spread the paste. Put on some old clothes because the paste is messy and might wreck
them. It’s best to go out with at least two people, but no more than three. One to brush, and one to hold the posters and watch for
cops. Cops don’t seem to care if you’re walking around with a bucket in the middle of the night, but don’t put up posters in front
of them, because they might get a little upset. Bikes are also a good idea for getaways, or for carrying the paste in a big front

Now that you’re out on the street, look for smooth surfaces with high visibility from roads. Light posts, utility boxes, mail boxes,
boarded up store fronts, the backs of traffic signs all are good targets. Or get creative and poster them on strange things in back
alleys or paste multiple posters up on a wall to give an overwhelming effect .

The best way to paste them up is to put some paste on the surface and on the back of the poster. Then paste over the corners to make
sure they’re all down solid. Pasting over the surface of the poster can make it look a little messy, but its quite faster and much
more lasting.

When you get home from your excursion, wash you bucket and brush very thoroughly. Poorly washed brushes go moldy which is a big pain
in the bullocks. If you have any paste on your clothing, rinse it out as soon as possible; it'll save you lots of trouble.

The next day go for a walk and admire your artwork. Snap some pictures and send them to SHZine.

Some good poster sites: - this site has movies with guys pasting up big posters, as well as lots and lots of shots of their work

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