Tommy Wilson of Bomb the Blight with seed bomb cannonBomb the Blight artist Tommy Wilson: Ready, aim, inspire!Photo: Bomb the Blight

Roving bands of hopeful Americans are improving the places they live by means of guerrilla warfare: painting bike lane art, planting tulips, and setting up street cafés. It’s community activism for the impatient, and Memphis artist and photographer Tommy Wilson is the latest to join the ranks of those pimping the pavement.

Founder of the brand-new project Bomb the Blight, Wilson is stocking his arsenal (aka his air cannon) with modified “seed bombs”: biodegradable balloons pumped with plant-based paint, native wildflower seeds, fertilizer, organic matter, and a splash of color. The idea is to have community members fire these bombs of public art into areas of urban blight, such as an abandonded lot, where they’ll release explosions of color and lay the groundwork for native blooms next spring. It’s a transformation of ruin porn into nature porn.

seed bombsHere you can seed da bombs.Photo: Bomb the BlightAlthough Bomb the Blight has only launched in Memphis so far, Wilson has his sights on taking these horticulture wars national: “I want to launch a bomb in every state!”

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

“By partnering with community groups, civic organizations and elements of government, we will schedule each “engagement” (That sounds better than bombing, don’t you think?) as a community event,” Wilson said on his website. A grassroots group that rips up places plagued by pavement, like Depave in Portland, Ore., would seem like a natural ally.


Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Like what you see? Sign up to receive The Grist List, our email roundup of funny and pun-usual green news just like this, sent out every Friday.