A guerilla street artist stalks the streets of Brampton: 23-year-old Dorota Pankowska wanders the Ontarian city, looking for surfaces to tag with the logos of well-known brands. The twist? Call her Food Banksy: Her graffiti is done with ketchup, mayonnaise, peanut butter, coffee, and more. For Pankowska, the medium really is the message.
In Pro Bono Promo, Pankowska goes around and re-creates the logos of brands that she knows and loves with the actual product they produce. With a white wall of mortared cinder blocks as relief, Cheez-Whiz is tattooed in fluorescent orange goop. Likewise, the Maxwell House logo is dry-rubbed onto a wall with powdered coffee; Sharpie’s brand mark is replicated in magic marker; Colgate is applied with a toothbrush upon red brick; and the Gillette logo lathered in shaving foam on the side of a salmon-colored school building.
As all good things do, Pro Bono Promo started with Nutella. “I love all the street art that I see every time I visit Toronto, and I wanted to do something like that in Brampton, which doesn’t have a big art scene,” Pankowska tells Co.Design. “When I was brainstorming with my friend, I thought about expressing my love for Nutella by putting the logo around the city, at which point I asked myself, Why not actually make it out of the stuff?”
To create her designs, Pankowska enlarges a brand’s logo in Photoshop, prints it out in pieces, and then glues it onto Bristol board. She then creates a stencil by cutting out the logo with a utility knife. The location she ends up tagging is usually chosen for its contrast with the color of the product itself, although happenstance also plays a part. Brampton is a city that is closely knit yet densely packed enough that Pankowska needs to take any opportunity she can get to practice her oft-edible art.
One practical advantage of this particular brand of tagging is that it washes right off. But even though her graffiti is ephemeral, Pankowska hopes to make a larger point about the brands in our lives: Like peanut butter, Nutella, or Cheez-Whiz, they stick to the roof of your mind as well as your mouth.
“Logos stick with you for life,” Pankowska says. Even after you’ve licked them off, “you can never really unsee them.”