Anna Garforth: The Mossenger

With local authorities cracking down on graffiti (the Philistines), we’ve noted a few attempts at impermanent alternatives

Mostly they have revolved around the idea of creating a new image out of what is already present – by scrubbing away the dirt or cutting into layers of flyposters, for example.

Illustrator Anna Garforth is attempting an alternative, no less eco-friendly approach with her Mossenger project. On a wall in Shelford Place in London’s Stoke Newington, she has grown the first line of a poem using moss.

Garforth looked into growing the moss for her artwork from scratch but, deciding that was too time-consuming, sought out a rather macabre alternative. “I went to the cemeteries around Stoke Newington, spatula in hand, and scraped the moss off the grave stones,” she tells us. Then, she “crafted the letters [in typeface Georgia Italic] with a nifty pair of scissors and lots of patience. Using biodegradable ingredients, I then glued the moss to the wall, where hopefully it will colonise and grow.” Presumably, as it does so, the lettering will gradually disappear, which sounds rather beautiful.

The second sentence of the poem, by Eleanor Stevens, should have appeared elsewhere the city by the time you read this. Garforth says she plans to carry on, line by mossy line, until the whole verse has been transcribed and dotted around  walls throughout London.


What's the story?

The Storytelling issue, Oct/Nov 2017, is out now.
We invited writers to respond to our cover image
this month: read their stories inside.
PLUS: Tom Gauld, Oliver Jeffers, Giphy & S-Town

Buy the issue

The Annual 2018

The Creative Review Annual is one of the most
respected and trusted awards for the creative
industry. We celebrate the best creative work from
the past year, those who create it and commission it.

Enter now


South East London - Competitive


London - £35,000 - £40,000


Birmingham - Salary £30-£35k


Leeds, West Yorkshire - £20,000 - 30,000