The latest street art to grace the urban byways of Oklahoma City is a wonderful wheat paste in The Paseo by artist Sam Douglas. It’s located on Walker Avenue just south of NW 30th Street outside the Twisted Root Gallery.
This trash dumpster has always been such an eyesore, and its conspicuous location makes it perfect for this type of graffiti or guerrilla art.
Efforts like this make me happy. You’d have to be a complete curmudgeon not to appreciate the hope, creativity and courage this type of installation requires. Nobody wants a giant trash receptacle outside their business. Having an artist transform it into an exhibit space is a lesson in how to conquer the negative forces in our lives.
The trash dumpster presented a negative situation. By doing something positive with it, the artist provides the community with a two-fold blessing. We’re no longer weighed down by the eyesore, and the wheat-paste graffiti becomes a positive force because it inspires and entertains us.
What is Wheat-Pasting?
Wheat-pasting is a form of graffiti and/or street art. Artists affix their work to public spaces with a type of papier-mâché glue called wheat paste. It’s basically flour, water and sugar and is similar to wallpaper paste. Playbox wheat paste is available at arts and craft suppliers and hardware stores.
Wheat pasting is sometimes called Marxist Glue. Originally, this was just a Chinese term for wheat paste. According to a 2010 article in the Huffington Post, Marxist Glue: It Sticky, the Chinese have long been propagandists who love their wallpaper. But, I kind of wonder if the term isn’t a bit of a double entendre that can be understood or interpreted in a couple of different way. Class struggle is a central theme in The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx, and class conflict is a subject many graffiti artists seek to illuminate through their work. It seems important to note, however, that just because an artist or writer addresses class warfare in their work does not at all mean they are a communist.
By the way, this is not the first time someone has used trash dumpsters in the Paseo to host their street art or graffiti. Here is a link to a post I published in March about the War Clown Army. Also, in 2010, I wrote about gentrification posters on a dumpster in Paseo.