Nfld. & Labrador

Street artist puts a friendlier twist on controversial Crime Stoppers campaign

Nina Elliot says she thought the Crime Stoppers poster campaign painted St. John's in a negative light, so she put up her own street art in response.

Nina Elliot of Twillingate says her posters are meant to present a kinder, everyday slice of local life

This is one of Nina Elliott's posters, made in response to the recent Crime Stoppers campaign, in downtown St. John's. (Instagram)

A controversial campaign by Crime Stoppers has ended, but new posters were seen in downtown St. John's this weekend — though with a slightly different take, thanks to a Twillingate artist and activist.

Nina Elliott put up a few street art posters along Duckworth Street in response to the Crime Stoppers posters, which many people said portrayed downtown St. John's in an inaccurate and unflattering light.

"I saw the posters and I just thought they they were portraying such a negative image," she said.

The goal of her art posters, made with doilies and spray paint, was to counter the negative feel of the Crime Stoppers campaign, Elliott told The St. John's Morning Show.

"I wanted to kind of retain the spirit of the Crime Stoppers posters," she said. Her posters kept the distinctive wording of the originals but focused on positive, everyday scenes instead of reports of criminal activity.

"I thought that it would be kind of fun to incorporate the cheekiness with something that's very comforting for people, which is fibre."

Elliott, a knitter and blogger in Twillingate, is seen here with one of her "yarn bombing" projects. (Submitted)

The posters — which are about three feet long by a foot and a half wide — aren't Elliott's first foray into "craftivism."

The street artist has brought fibre arts to both this province and beyond, for example by "yarn bombing" Twillingate in 2015.

She brings the practice with her when she travels, she said, and tries to contribute something positive to the places she visits.

"Wherever I go, I bring some art with me and try to bring a little bit of fun wherever we are," she said.

She said isn't sure what the on-the-ground response to her posters was in St. John's but the online response has been great.

"I like to use street art to send out positive messages to kind of disrupt people from their routine."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from The St. John's Morning Show


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