Your Slogan Here

In recent years the city of Kingston has been hosting an urban festival that merges art and healing. The O+ Festival, headquartered here, has a holistic approach and promotes the well-being of individuals through arts, music, and wellness. It was during this visit that we found this piece on a wall on the side of a building. It caught our eyes as it resembled the style of Banksy. But the other characteristic that we noticed was that the unidentified artist was also playing with the words. They took from the ubiquitous “Your Ad Here” signs one sees all over large cities.

It could also have read “Your Logo Here”. Street art has changed throughout the years to become mostly a sanctioned art form with an intense focus on murals. Big and small cities all over the world have embraced the idea of art as a way to revitalize moribund old quarters of their cities and to bring a sense of belonging to an otherwise neglected neighborhood. No matter the original nobility of that idea – inevitably in comes commerce, the slogans, and logos. Then there is the slogan of the city or private organization in charge of producing the festival and suddenly a plethora of small logos and slogans promoting the companies that have contributed either with funds, equipment, or materials to the festival.

We are a society of advertisements, often prodded to buy something or to endorse something. Whether driving on the highway or flying or on a train or walking or sitting on the couch in our home, we can’t escape logos, slogans, and general advertisements. There are only a few precious areas left on earth without billboards and electronic signs. That’s why it’s especially jarring to also see them on display at art events.

Unidentified artist. Kingston, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)