Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Guerilla Art - Experiment #001

I've always been fascinated by the idea of hiding and finding things. Aside from Hide-and-Go-Seek and Sardines, one of my favorite games growing up was Lego Treasure Quest, the object of which was to hide cardboard keys in various rooms. The treasure chest base would tell you which room to search for a key in, and once you found a key in all six rooms you won. Very fun!

With this in mind, my fascination with guerilla art makes a little more sense.
Let me give you a definition of guerilla art: when an artist leaves an artwork in a public place for others to enjoy and/or take. The notion that I am leaving something that someone will eventually find and hopefully enjoy is one of the things that draws me to guerilla art. Another aspect of the appeal for the artist is that you can create an atmosphere, set a mood, and influence someone's day for good. Wouldn't you like to turn the corner and unexpectedly see a framed painting randomly hanging from a brick store facade (with removable Command hooks, of course)? Or how about coming across a beautifully chalked sidewalk? I know those things would make my day, and that's the type of thing I want to do for others.

 I have participated in non-destructive, non-permanent guerilla art - some artists, notably graffiti artists, choose to go the other way. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand I appreciate some graffiti art and permanent guerilla art installations, yet they are often destructive and unethical when done without permission (which is most of the time). I really enjoy seeing rock stackingchalking, and yarn bombing, all great, non-permanent, art forms. I think you can publicly express yourself in a unique, artistic way without resorting to illegal, intrusive means. But I digress.

This post is really about my latest guerilla art project, which I'd like to introduce to you. Ever since I participated in The Jar Project from the Art House Co-op, I have been wanting to use recycled jars to make and put stuff in. Here's the result:

Yes, it's overexposed, but I was exposing for the darkness inside
the bottle to highlight the colored pencils rather than the background...

This piece is basically a tube of paper in a former bacon bit bottle with six colored pencils inside. You take the tube out and read the instructions, which I typed with a typewriter on the end sheet of a vintage book. Take a look at these scans of the direction page. This is the thing that the finder will (hopefully!) do upon discovering the bottle:

I adore the vintage look of using the typewriter on old paper. It isn't as yellow in real life as it may appear here. 

I got the mini pencils at Michael's for only a dollar. The bottle was free. The paper is recycled. It's really a simple thing. I hope that whoever chooses to give the jar a home will enjoy it and that it will cause them to interact with someone in a way they wouldn't normally, bringing a smile and air of curiosity to both participants.

I have yet to leave this piece, but I think I've decided where I will "hide" it. If it just so happens that you are the finder and have somehow ended up reading this post, I invite you to leave your thoughts on this experiment. Did you like it? Did it fulfill the goal I set out for it? What were your results? I'd love to hear it. It may help me as I develop future experiments...

1 comment:

  1. Did you end up leaving this somewhere? I love this piece ... I hope someone found it and took it home.