reverse graffiti
n. Graffiti created by strategically removing dust, dirt, or other grime from a surface to create an image or message.

Example Citations:
Also in the show are the American artist Jim Dingilian’s smoke landscapes in a bottle, which have the elusive look of memories, and the Brazilian artist Alexandre Orion’s video of his “reverse” graffiti, carved into the soot-saturated walls of São Paolo traffic tunnels.
—Alix Browne, “The Other Ash Can School,” The New York Times, February 7, 2012

Pollution residue on a stop sign. Algae at the bottom of a public fountain. For most people, such accumulated grit is a dirty, if often overlooked, fact of modern life. But for “reverse graffiti” artists, that dirt is a beckoning canvas. —“Reverse Graffiti,” O, The Oprah Magazine, February 1, 2012

Earliest Citation:
Moose at work on his grime-removing graffiti and, above left, his Big Brother logo for Channel 4 Symbollix reverse graffiti.
—photo cutline accompanying Ian Herbert and Roland Hancock, “Moose, public-spirited graffiti artist, cleans up,” The Independent, June 26, 2004

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