Whereas 3D murals give flat surfaces illusory depth, railing art creates 2D images that emerge out of three dimensional space.
Railing art is created by slicing up a poster and ‘wheatpasting‘ the strips to the sides of square-section railings. The result is invisible when viewed straight on; the image only emerges to passersby as they walk past on the pavement.
The great example of railing art featured here has further dimension to it: entitled “Making the Invisible Visible”, it is part of an Amnesty International campaign against the death penalty. The portrait is of Troy Davis, an American who was convicted in 1989 of the murder of a police officer and sentenced to death. He has been held on death row in Georgia for the past 19 years, despite a distinct lack of evidence and unreliable witness statements.
Amnesty commissioned UK creative agency Brothers and Sisters and German street art collective Mentalgassi to produce the work. Mentalgassi began as a graffiti group, but decided to branch out into other forms of street art to make their work more accessible to the rest of us. Their work is intended for “everybody that’s interested, open-minded and willing to open their eyes”. They are pioneers of railing art.
No doubt we can expect to see a lot more ad campaigns livening up the streets. With Banksy’s already award-winning street art film Exit Through the Gift Shop up for Best Feature Documentary at the coming Oscars, street art is no longer confined to the shadows.