Warming Signs: Clet Abraham Rewrites Rules Of The Road

Being a guerrilla artist isn’t easy, and it can even cost you – Abraham was once fined 400 Euros for “vandalizing street signs”. He typically works in the depths of the night so as to avoid vehicular traffic and law enforcement. Don’t mistake him for a run-of-the-mill graffiti artist, however. “I’m not sure exactly what the fundamental difference is between a graffiti artist and my work,” pondered Abraham in a 2010 interview with VisitTuscany magazine. “I can say for sure that my stickers are easily removable.” The Bobbies in London, where Flickr member Matt Brown snapped the sign above, will doubtless be pleased to hear that.

Signs Of The Times

Abraham is also careful not to impede the graphic messages road signs were originally designed to reflect – his stencils merely add a layer to the surface without detracting from the signs’ safety aspect. His choice of removable sticker substrates is admirable as well… why add cleaning costs to municipal budgets that could be better applied elsewhere? In any case, some jurisdictions don’t appear to be aware of the stickers’ ease of removal – some examples look to be years old – or maybe their “harmlessness” simply doesn’t warrant sending out a cleanup crew.

Dive Somewhere Else

“The message is very poor (sometimes I feel like I’m being treated like an idiot by them)”, states Abraham in reference to road signs, “and yet they have a highly invasive aesthetic”. Why not “hitch a ride”, so to speak, on these omnipresent signs so that a more humane message can reach more people? Make what you will of Abraham’s artwork – the above example in particular – but one might presume his message is to never give up hope, never surrender your humanity. All signs point to that existential truth..