Alive Alive-O

Update 01/03/13:

Here’s the minutes of the below meeting (it also involved the traffic light boxes), and the selection process.

We have some more work to do with regard to exploring how best to succeed with moss-growing, and there’s several people who have contacted us with advice. We’ll update this post once we’ve some more news!

Here’s the chosen artwork – well done John! (Here’s John’s explanation for his design.)


Update 22/02/13:

We’d like to invite you along to a discussion of this, and the selection process. More info here.

Update 12/02/13:

We’ve received 7 submissions, and we’ll be arranging for a selection event as soon as we can!

Update 05/02/13:

There were NO submissions *sad face!* to this, but a few people have since said to us that they’d have loved to have entered…so…we’re going to accept any entries that anyone wants to send in until Monday 11th February. *happy face!*

The primary aim of this project is to explore and learn more about moss-growing, so we’ll probably simply do something much simpler if there are still no entries and we’ve a plan in mind there. But if you’re just dying to send us in something, we’d be delighted!

Original Post 19/12/12:

We’d like to explore a slightly different type of onstreet art in this Beta – moss!

(click the image for more info on that project)

We’re looking for you to submit your proposal(s) for a piece of art, an image, text, abstract, to be painted in moss or mixed media on the gable of a three storey high building.

Here’s the wall…it’s large! (Here it is as a PDF with some dimensions.)Moss Wall DCC Beta - Existing Wall - cropped

The wall currently has a partial mural (see image below), and you can integrate this mural into your concept or paint it out – however you should note that moss will tend to grow better on bare wall.

This wall on Little Mary Street is the proposed location (it is fully north-facing, so should be perfect for moss-growing) and we’ve agreed it all with the owner of the premises. It’s just a stone’s throw from Mary Street/Capel Street or the Corporation Fruit and Vegetable Markets.

The Brief

Your artwork SHOULD “Enhance the identity of the immediate area”.

Some items that you might like to consider…

  • The fruit, vegetables and flower markets, perhaps the former fish market, perhaps the former Daisy Market, etc. (We’d suggest that the Smithfield Horse Market wouldn’t fall under this ‘Markets Area’ of the City, but rather ‘Smithfield’.)
  • The feel of the area – the whizz of forklift trucks, the 5am-3pm nature of the markets, the banter, many people noted that the area has a “real Dublin” feeling, etc.
  • History, culture, vision, etc.
  • Your art shouldn’t be an advertisement – but can be either information or art.
  • You don’t have to use text, and you don’t have to mention the words “Market” or anything such like.
  • This is an older part of the city with a strong culture and lots of history. It’s also a tourist route to St Michans Church, the Green Street Courthouse, the Jameson Distillery and on to Collins Barracks.
  • It’s also almost a straight line all the way from Connolly Station to Collins Barracks – the one point where that link is obscured is at the former AIB bank on the corner of Capel Street and Little Mary Street (because Mary Street and Little Mary Street don’t line up, so there’s no visual link) – ie quite nearby this wall.

Who can get involved?

Anyone and everyone. You might prefer to work alone, or you might like to team up with others. (Take the Maser  & Damien Dempsey ‘They Are Us‘ project as an example of how it can work really well.)


We’re providing a budget of €300 for expenses (we’ll just need the receipts afterwards) for the project, and we will support you with the installation of the artwork as required.


  1. Your design.
    1. PDF format.
    2. A3 size
    3. If you’re proposing to use more than one colour, we’d suggest submitting it in colour, rather than black-and-white.
    4. It’s up to you to decide if you wish to use the sketch elevation we have provided (or to redraw it, or to show your idea as a perspective view instead). You might also like to show details (if they’re relevant to your design).
  2. The thinking behind your design.
    1. Why you think it ‘enhances the identity of the immediate area’.
    2. Send this as a piece of text, and as a separate Word document.
  3. Your contact details
    1. Name, mobile, email.
    2. Twitter/Facebook Page etc – only if you wish!
  4. Your requirements for completing your piece.
    1. Let us know how much of the wall you’re hoping to use. Also it would be worth clarifying whether you’re proposing to cover up, or include, the existing mural.
    2. You will be required to be involved in putting up the moss wall (however we’ll help you out, and we also know someone who knows a bit about ‘moss art’ who should be able to also help you). Will you require the road to be closed, or the carriageway to be reduced?
    3. What equipment do you need to complete your piece (scaffold/ladders, etc)?
    4. How much time do you think you’ll need to complete it? (1 day, 1 week, etc.)
  5. Submissions
    1. Email in, or post us in a hardcopy.
    2. Send it to us BEFORE Monday 21st January 2013.
    3. Just send us your final submission as we won’t be able to comment on any interim ‘sketch ideas’.


In case you’re wondering, we expect (but haven’t decided at the moment) that the selection process will probably be a variation of this, which we’ll trial as a Beta itself, and that it’ll be held sometime during the week 21st-28th January.

As it’s a DCC Beta, it’s only there for a temporary period. It could be as little as one day if there’s a problem for some reason. Just so you know what you’re getting into!

What do you think of the idea?

Once we have an example (ie the above) in place, we’ve a whole bunch of questions that we’d like to ask you, for your thoughts, feedback and suggestions. We’ll then update this blog post at that time!

Here comes the science bit…

General background to using ‘moss paint’…

  • Applied with painting brush or roller, using stencils or free-hand. Mix needs to be thick enough to stick to wall. Spraying probably not suitable.
  • When mixed, the “paint” has to be used within a few days, ideally the same day.
  • It should not be mixed with standard paints, chemicals will kill the moss (‘natural’ paints may be OK). Not good on existing fresh paint. Rough surfaces better than smooth.
  • Ideally applied during normal weather conditions. No long dry spell, no downpour. Will have to be misted for the first 3-4 weeks. (We’ll take care of that for you.) In dry weather, 2-3 times a week in winter not so much. All else once a week. Misting with regular water, rain water etc. is fine.
  • If required, moss walls can be killed off with a water/vinegar mix or with moss and algae killer. The surface can also just be power washed, which would get rid of the moss altogether.
  • The advantage of moss is it greens the space introduces an artistic intervention but doesn’t interfere with the fabric of the building in terms of rooting into the structure and only requires 0.1% water which is in keeping with normal brick or block work (unlike ivy etc).

The Wall

  • The owner has given outline permission but will also have the right to sign off on the chosen design, and what’s allowed (for eg boarding up the top windows, or stopping at sill level, etc).
  • Here’s a PDF of the wall. This drawing scales at 1:100 when printed at A3.
  • The wall is 8.8m high and 20.5m long and it’s 6m up to the sill level of the (top row of) windows.
  • That lower single window is boarded up, so feel free to cover over it.
  • You can use the whole area of the wall, or you might decide to just some of it.

Creative Suggestions

  • The wall is LARGE, so we reckon it’s best to keep it simple.
  • We suggest use of bold, strong shapes and structures. The moss will keep growing slowly, so that fine shapes will get lost over time. The moss will very slowly keep growing (in theory it could be trimmed from time to time but it will probably not happen). Here’s some examples of other ‘moss art’.
  • Writing is certainly an option. (Just remember, no ‘ads’!) However, if using detailed images, you should consider that the moss will bleed a bit over time, so best not try to be too delicate.
  • You can mix with other media such as paint, anti fungal products etc), materials used under the moss paint (can’t contain chemicals, etc as the moss won’t grow, but this may be the requirement)…and anything else you think of.  Preference is for an ecological treatment that promotes greening.

Moss Types

  • Dense mat forming:
    • Rock Cap MossI – Dicranum: Medium to dark green (D. fuscescens)
    • Cushion Moss LeucobryumBlueish green (L. glaucum) to deep greens (L. albidum)
  • Slightly “spiky” mat forming:
    • Peat Moss – SphaghnumYellowish-Green (Sp. capilifolium) and also red (Sp. rubellum) varieties. Probably the most easy to obtain species in Ireland.
    • Fern Moss – HypnumMedium to yellowish greens (H. imponens) depending on level of wetness

Mix It Up

Different mix methods are possible and can be tested. What you will need is a handful of moss, a growing agent and a energy source. Place all in a blender and blend until thickness is right. Add more moss or liquids if needed. Corn syrup can also be used to thicken up mixture if desired.

  • Plant medium: Moss
  • Growing agent: Natural Yoghurt / Natural Buttermilk / Kefir
  • Energy source: Sugary water / Beer

(We believe that some mosses can be bought in the neighbouring Corporation Fruit & Vegetable Markets.)

We also have someone who knows a little bit about moss-walls, who we can call on to give you advice as needed when it comes to that stage.


About Dublin City Council beta

Dublin City Council are trying a new method called DCC Beta Projects...your input, then quick trials 'on the street', then your feedback! We'd LOVE your help!
This entry was posted in 1. Identity, Communication & Ownership, 2. Environmental, 3. Moving About, Beta Project micro, Beta Projects, Public Realm, Shane, Siobhan. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Alive Alive-O

  1. siobhanok says:

    Nice idea, but a lot of instructions to follow, might be nice to involve a group of locals rather than one artist.

    • DCCbeta says:

      Hi Siobhan, cheers for the feedback. If lots of people think it sounds too complicated, we’ll revise the text.

      Essentially we’re just asking for a design and the person’s reasons for that design.

      We’re then just giving some background to moss paint, and more general info as to how to submit back to us (we got a lot of very general queries during the Traffic Light Box Beta, so we thought it might be easier to give all the info up front this time).

      But as you say, we might not have explained that so clearly.

      The ‘Beta’ in this case is about learning a bit more about moss walls, so we don’t really mind who does it – locals can decide to get involved, or a local artist might decide to involve local residents, or the local school for example.

      Hopefully that clarifies it a bit? Thanks again for the feedback!

  2. Would like to see a very large piece of Moss Art on the wall, if just some typeface text not so sure would it suit the size of the wall. You know my view, the less grey the better!

  3. Pingback: Chat – Traffic Light Boxes & Moss Walls | Dublin City Council Beta Projects

  4. Pingback: Dublin City Council Beta Projects

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