You probably saw their handiwork near Malden High School last month: fake but recognizable images of Pres. Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney, laughing as they hold wads of campaign cash next to several news clippings detailing the influence of big money in Presidential politics.
That image was quickly removed, but members of "The Blank Administration" say that action was the first of many planned to raise awareness about campaign financing.
So far, they've gotten some attention: Boston Phoenix reporter Chris Faraone wrote about the group last month, noting the same image was posted in about 24 locations throughout Greater Boston. But is street art an effective method of social advocacy? We emailed some questions to a member of the group who lives in Malden, who requested she not be named:
Q: What prompted you to start the group?
A: I did not start the group myself, but for me the group is here to shed some rays of truth about today's politics and help to further the conversations that the public has already started. I joined because something rare is happening in our country: not commonly have we seen this level of disconnect between both party's constituencies and the candidates that represent them. We're seeing Democrats not wanting to vote Obama and Republicans not happy to vote Romney.
This speaks very loudly to me and to the masses of exhausted voters. My hope with this group is that we can provide some answers about why things are the way they are and by doing so, learn from others along the way.
Q: What is your goal? Why "The Blank Administration"?
Our goal is to educate the public and help shed some unbiased truth on the issues of the world. The Blank Administration is working to increase the dialogue about the issues on everyone's minds, especially concerning this presidential election.
While our main focus for the time being may be on election politics, that isn't all we do. We'd like to publicize and express the disappointment we all feel at the current state of things and then hopefully find creative, alternative answers.
As for the name of the group, The Blank Administration is a name that is close to us because, like the group itself, it is so general. The group is whatever you need it to be. It is a blank collection of frustrated people that pose questions and explore answers.
Q. Why did you choose the medium of street art for your political message? Also, was there a reason you picked that particular (Ruderman's) building?
We chose the life size posters because they are a great visual that draw people in. Unlike fliers that you'd only throw away, these posters ignite your curiosity and invite you over to have a read.
As for the Malden location, we chose that building for a couple of reasons. First, it is near a major school but not actually on the school itself. Tons of students and their parents pass by that spot everyday. Secondly, the Ruderman's building is no longer occupied (that we know of), so we knew not many people would mind if we used that small wall space.
Q. What do you say to people who argue you are damaging private property?
Wheat pasting is an art form that can be torn down or washed away over time, so to say we were damaging property is an unfair statement, in my opinion. In fact, many of the posters are already partially taken down.
While we cannot control every member of the group, most of us chose our placement locations carefully and thoughtfully and were mindful not to cover up anyone else's art or place the posters on houses or schools.
Q. Do you plan to do more actions like this in the future?
This is only the beginning for The Blank Administration. We would love to do more projects. You will definitely be seeing more of us.
You can visit the group's website for more information.