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  • Writer's pictureSteven Hansen

The Urban Interventions of Robert Janz

International artist Robert Janz considers himself a poet. “Poetry freshens words, changes their context and what they point to,” he says. Janz turns boring and ugly urban streetscapes in Los Angeles, New York City, Paris, Madrid, and Dublin into a kind of graphic haiku. The results are always stunning.

Janz often performs his creative magic under cover of night as his techniques involve tearing and creatively disfiguring commercial advertising posters, drawing massive mountain outlines in poster paints along construction barricades, and adding prehistoric-looking elk figures cavorting over graffitied walls. He also paints with water on cement walls and sidewalks. He creates shadow art using folding chairs in a park and makes drawings in the snow.

His poster recreations get plastered over the next day with new advertisements. His mountains rarely last more than a week before they’re washed away by the rain. His water paintings evaporate in minutes. The shadows lengthen and then disappear.

“Everything is transient,” Janz says. “Everything passes.”

But for passersby, memories of his beautiful, silly and thought-provoking streetside interventions last forever.

“Janz in the Moment” is a documentary about the life and work of Robert Janz that was released in 2020.

Photos: (top and middle); (above), "#TBT Post No Bills" event, 2015.

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