In Global Graffiti: More than Writing on the Wall by Angela Riechers, we take a look at graffiti, from the subways of a collapsing New York City to the revolutionary streets of Cairo. Learn how calligraphic graffiti has transcended mere tags to become the true voice of the people.
Non-destructive street art. Not only is it a thing (a really, really cool thing that Minneapolis artist Eric Rieger, aka HOTTEA, is doing), but Sullivan—the branding agency behind brands like Merrill Lynch, American Express, The Global Fund for Human Rights and Cornell Tech—has brought HOTTEA’s unique art form indoors as part of the agency’s White Wall Project.
HOTTEA was tasked with creating an installation at the entrance of the firm’s office located in the Meatpacking District of NYC. The artist brought to life his personal interpretation of Sullivan’s promise to walk a mile in the shoes of its clients and their audiences. The agency creatives go to great lengths to understand the complexities of their clients’ products, services and customers, and this promise—and now, this wall—reflects that.
“The lobby experience is in many cases, the first moment that someone has a chance to get to know Sullivan,” says Sullivan partner and executive creative director John Paolini. “They walk out of the elevator door and—whether it’s a client, a prospective client, an employee, or a friend of the family—there is something about that moment that makes a lasting impression. It sets a tone and in many cases, we want that tone to be something that has the kind of ‘oh wow’ factor that make them stop and think differently about their experience.”
The installation does a few other things very well: It captures the spirit of being creative within constraints, and it represents the perception of beauty within complexity. Overall, the stunning and impactful wall adds new perspective to the agency’s space.
“This was about somebody taking the materials, and pushing it to another level,” says Paolini. “It honestly is really fueling a lot of our creative process and helping us think differently about our work.”
Check out the video below for a behind-the-scenes look at the collaboration:
This collaboration with HOTTEA marks the second time that Sullivan has worked with an emerging artist to challenge convention within the walls of their building. The first artist they worked with was handwriting/illustration artist Joel Holland, who created an installation to represent Sullivan’s brand promise “when lightning strikes,” which speaks to the agency’s ability to solve problems through creativity and represents all of the steps that go into the pursuit of it.
HOW is looking forward to seeing what Sullivan and collaborating artists have in store for its remaining 3 brand promises: protect and serve, dig deeper and devil’s in the details.
Put down that can of spray paint and see what other graffiti artists/messengers are creating on buildings, fences, sidewalks, walls, roads and landscapes all over the world. Based on the Website of the same name, Written on the City is packed with over 200 color images from cover to cover. Like all inspired art, this stunning collection has its thumb on the pulse of international cities where the meanings of the messages are every bit as thoughtful as the artistry that creates them.
Some of it is funny. Some of it is beautiful. Lots of it is upsetting, crazy, and brilliant at the same time. And all of it is important. This book continues that conversation through the eyes of photographers who recognized the importance of those words on the walls and shared them with us.