Eco Art Projects-Warning Signs 4U2C

Demolition, Projects, Stencils, Street Art, Toxic Wastes, Urban Decay


“As a painter, act as the eye of the community, for the community.”

“In the 70s, I made a conscious choice of changing the formal aesthetics I was taught in art school. No longer interested in working within the spatial restrictions of a white canvas, I embraced the outdoors, reducing the value of an art object to that of a shared visual experience for the general public. At the same time, the formal ‘blankness’ of a typical gallery, devoid of any distinctive character, no longer held interest for me.”

When I first began my Warning Signs project, there was a general lack of interest in facing and solving the urban problems that were rampant within all five boroughs of New York. By ‘labeling’ and addressing problems with the structural and physical landscape, I drew attention and placed some pressure on property owners who allowed squalor to accumulate, turning the city into a wasteland. The city was my canvas, raw and unsightly. Instead of being involved with decision making within the boundaries of traditional surfaces using conventional art materials, I embraced stencils, cardboard, recycled paper pulp, found objects and inexpensive paints.  By carefully scrutinizing and studying my surrounding landscape, it led me to new interests and research about the disappearing Native American heritage in the New York area.

Some of the projects remained for years, others only a few hours. Projects were mostly done at prohibited places, obsolete buildings and decaying factories. Owners of toxic wastes facilities left without notice, leaving behind enormous problems that were embedded in their soiled properties. Although, the world’s consciousness has diligently turned green and sustainable programs are in every community, toxic properties still exist throughout the world that are in need of a major cleanup.

John Fekner

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Permission to use the images

In keeping with the spirit and freedom in which the original stencil projects were made, John Fekner allows students the use of any images on this site for school projects, papers, thesis work, etc. as well as other purposes pertaining to their education. This permission includes grassroots and not-for-profit organizations, as well as scholars and journalists writing articles about environmental awareness, global issues and policies. Images may not be used for any commercial purposes, marketing, branding or distribution of any kind.

7 Responses to “Eco Art Projects-Warning Signs 4U2C”

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