Keep Your Coins, I Want Change

Very punny. That’s what I thought when I saw this work.

But don’t be deceived by the cleverness. The message is pretty great too.

This graffito—notice my art jargon is increasing!—was done by an Australian street artist named Meek.

Meek's stencil graffito is the perfect mix of art and message.

Meek specializes in a sub-genre of graffiti known as Stencil graffiti. My art vocabulary having not increased that much, I turned to Wikipedia:

“Stencil graffiti makes use of a paper, cardboard, or other media to create an image or text that is easily reproducible. The desired design is cut out of the selected medium and then the image is transferred to a surface below through the use of spray paint or roll-on paint.”

Ah, that makes sense.

Entitled “Begging for Change,” the stencil graffito was completed in 2004 and premiered on the side of a building’s wall. It portrays a homeless man on a sidewalk with a collection cup, holding a sign which reads: Keep Your Coins. I WANT CHANGE.

It has appeared around the world on buildings and in other media and is currently housed in the National Gallery of Art in Canberra, Australia.

It’s easy to see why the image resonates among political art circles: as both a piece of art and a political statement, “Begging for Change” is a solid success—simple in design, yet powerful in voice.

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