Introduction: Snow Graffiti: Protest With Kool-Aid
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Step 1: Supplies
Supplies are pretty flexible but here are our suggestions:
1. Lots and Lots of Water: Spots near water sources are a plus.
2. Large dispensers of liquid: Fertilizer sprayers work nicely. Hand spray water bottles are not such a great idea.
3. Environmentally Friendly Dyes/Coloring (a la Kool-Aid or Food Coloring): It depends on your choice of dye, but we used about 4 or 5 packets of Kool-Aid per refill. The higher contrast the color the better. It's best to go for legibility over aesthetics if need be.
4. Numbers: The more people you have, the easier and faster the process will be. This also avoids lots of complications due to cold weather.
5. Warm clothes: Water + Snow = Uncomfortably Freezing. Gloves, boots, and quality jackets are a must.
Step 2: Methods
The actual process is both simple and complicated. The biggest factor is patience if you are working in small numbers.
Outwardly, the methods are exactly as you would imagine. Find a nice clean spot and spray what you want. This is not exactly the case (I will detail the unexpected factors in the next step).
As far as spraying your message or artwork, avoid small straight lines in favor of wider circular motions. Straight lines tend to lack the contrast and definition that the wider circular spray offers. Sprayers that have adjustable nozzles for wider streams are ideal for this.
While spraying, it is a good idea to hold the device you are using above ground level, to avoid any cooling due to the snow.
If you are working in teams, splitting up to have one group create an image/message, while the other retraces what's already done is helpful as well.
It's also a good idea to set aside a bit more time for this than expected (at least for your first try).
Step 3: Unexpected Difficulties
The main idea of snow graffiti seems relatively uncomplicated at first, but when actually carried out there can be a number of unexpected difficulties. These are really important things to keep in mind if you want to be successful.
1. Perspective: We were originally planning on using a frozen river under a bridge, but as it was too weak we had to ditch it for a spot of land. Due to this, perspective became an issue. It might be beneficial to stomp out the message first or lightly write it in the snow and to assess from whatever vantage point it will be viewed from.
2. Tracks: Deep snow means incredibly visible tracks. For the best results think back to elementary school handwriting charts. You are going to want to walk in tracks only at the tops and bottoms of your letters. Anything else becomes an enormous distraction from what you are trying to convey.
3. Freezing: Even using relatively temperate water, our tools had a tendency to clog and freeze up easily. To battle this, we recommend insulation in the form of duffel bags around sprayers and any sort of thick tape around the hose. Quick heat packets for emergency defrosting might be helpful as well. Working quickly also combats freezing.