For decades, couples have been compelled, whenever faced with a tree covered in moss, to carve their names into the greenery, leaving a lasting imprint that’ll probably last longer than the relationship itself.
But now a new form of moss art is taking hold.
Instead of carving into moss, new eco artists are painting moss onto walls and almost any other surface they can get their hands on, to create living walls, a living, breathing piece of graffiti.
The hype for this green art began only a couple of months ago, spawned by environmental artist Anna Garforth and named “Mossenger”.
What is Mossenger?
Mossenger is a series of typographical letters cut out of cultivated moss, and stuck to walls using a combination of biodegradable ingredients. As the moss settles, it will grow, expanding the letters and phrases into a completely unique piece. The idea is that the artwork evolves with the material it’s created of.
Garforth has a penchant for contrasting the calligraphy of the messenger with the setting it’s in – she loves the sides of dilapidated buildings, often knowing that the space won’t last for long. One of her most famous pieces is “Grow”, the letters of which are placed on the wall surrounding a disused plot, earmarked for a development of flats.
She often makes a political statement with her works by doing this – her artwork says: our green spaces are constantly being built upon, when they could be turned into something beautiful. It’s not a surprise that Garforth’s a connoisseur of guerrilla gardening also.
How to create your own moss art
There’s two ways to create your own moss art mix – the planted method and the painted method.
The Planted Method (Garforth’s method)
- 1 pot natural yoghurt
- ½ tsp sugar
- A blender
- Several trays filled with compost
Blend the moss, yoghurt and sugar until smooth. Then pour onto your trays of compost and keep warm and damp, and when it starts to grow, cut out your art.
The Painted Method
- 1 can of beer
- ½ a tsp sugar
- A blender
- A paintbrush
Blend the moss, beer and sugar until smooth. Then paint onto your desired wall, or spray on using pump spray and stencil. Keep nice and moist over the next few weeks, and you should have an amazing living piece.
It can be difficult and take some practice to get the mix right for both methods. Moss grows best in damp places, so when picking a wall for your artwork, make sure the moisture levels are high – look for places that already have moss, and you’ll find the right microclimate for your masterpiece.
Jasmine Ayres is an environmental enthusiast who loves everything to do with anything green and leafy. She’s currently a little bit obsessed with living walls, including green graffiti. She recommends Ambius, one of the leading interior landscaping firms.