Good Grief It’s Graffiti!

Thomas Boldt writes Good Grief It’s Graffiti! a blog post about the Peanuts Global Art Collective and the public art project.

The Great Pumpkin might not be able to make it around the world on a single Halloween night, but this spring will see Peanuts characters gracing streets around the world as part of a new public art project. A select group of seven graffiti artists have been granted permission to redraw the beloved Charlie Brown, Snoopy and Woodstock in a series of street art murals that will be visible until mid-July.

The project is the brainchild of Peanuts International, the company who manages the rights and licenses for the famous Peanuts franchise. The seven artists chosen to reimagine Schulz’s iconic characters are Rob Pruitt, Andre Saraiva, Kenny Scharf, Nina Chanel Abney, Tomokazu Matsuyama, and collectives FriendsWithYou and AVAF (Assume Vivid Astro Focus), who together have been dubbed the Peanuts Global Art Collective. Not quite as inventive a name as AVAF, but perhaps that’s to be expected when the client is a multinational corporation.

Seven cities have also been selected to play host to the new pieces: New York, San Francisco, Mexico City, Paris, Berlin, Seoul and Tokyo. New York and San Francisco have more pieces than the rest of the cities combined, but this may change as the project develops.

Much of the power of good street art comes from the blending of the local environment with the composition of the piece itself, although that isn’t always an option with commissioned public art. As a result, some of the pieces are more successful than others, but they are all charming in their own way.

The mark that Schulz left on generations of aspiring artists, illustrators and cartoonists is hard to quantify, but there is no doubt that he started many on their path to the art world.

“I think I taught myself how to draw by copying Peanuts characters and strips over and over, especially the details — the grass, the snow, the wobbly lines,” Pruitt explained in a statement. Pruitt’s pieces are arguably the closest homage to the classic Schultz style as a result. His pieces juxtapose Snoopy (and occasionally Woodstock) with one of his own popular panda characters, walking a tightrope across the side of a building, exchanging gifts.

Check out this fun video by Perfect Little Planet, many thanks to them for permission to use it in our post.

This isn’t the first time that Peanuts characters and the wider art world have crossed paths. “I think Charles Schulz would love this project. He loved artists and in one strip he has Snoopy daydreaming about Christo. At the end of it he returns to find that he has wrapped his doghouse, which Christo then did in real life,” relates Melissa Menta of Peanuts Worldwide in an interview with AFP.

The project won’t be coming to a complete end in July, as more installations are planned to go up in the fall. Hopefully, this kind of project will be embraced by the corporate community that provides the licensing for some of the world’s most beloved characters, and we’ll begin seeing more public art projects in the future!