If you're wondering what those good-looking kids are doing plastered on the side of Warehouse 21, they're part of a wheatpaste art installation by Anne Staveley. If you're wondering how to do your own wheatpastes, check out our handy how-to guide below.
Staveley, a photographer who specializes in black-and-white images, spread the huge pictures of numerous local teens on the west wall of the teen center, using large printouts of her photos and a simple substance called wheatpaste.
Wheatpaste's popularity is due in part to its existence in a graffiti grey area. The technique—in which images on paper are plastered like wallpaper on buildings—is simultaneously more welcome and harder to get rid of than graffiti. Additionally, wheatpaste itself is cheap and easy to make and, since the majority of the work (creating the images) can be done at home, putting up wheatpastes is quicker to do than graffiti, lessening the chances of artists getting caught.
Here're instructions on how to make and apply wheatpastes, along with some special insider tips. All you need are ideas for the images you want to create.
Wheat Paste Recipe (adopted/adapted from ehow.com):
*This recipe is for a small batch, so multiply amounts according to size of project.
Begin by heating 1 cup of water on the stove top in a medium-sized saucepan pan. The pan needs to be large enough to allow you to stir the ingredients without splashing.
Measure 3 tbsp. of wheat or all-purpose white flour into the measuring cup. Add and just enough cold water to the flour to make a thin paste, whisking out all of the lumps.
Pour the cold flour mixture slowly into the pan of hot water, stirring constantly. Bring it to a boil, continuing to stir until it thickens. Once the mixture comes to a boil, it has reached its full thickness. Add 1 tbsp. of sugar to make a stronger paste. (Wheatpaste should be a glue-like consistency.)
Remove your wheat flour paste from the heat and allow it to cool completely.
Put your paste in a huge bucket or plastic soda bottle (depending on the size of the project).
Add a clear gloss medium to the paste (approx. 20 percent of the volume) to make your piece more permanent
In freezing conditions, add salt (approx 10 percent of the volume).
- Store extra wheatpaste in the fridge, where it can last for months (until it gets moldy).
How to Wheatpaste:
Anne Staveley: Enormous Wheatpaste Photoshow
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