Wednesday, February 17

Abandoned Art Project

Months ago I found this great website devoted to  Abandoned Art . I love the concept. It's called The Art Abandonment Project.The idea is to create art and leave it for an unsuspecting person to find. It could be anywhere, at the beach, on a park bench, in a food court, on the trolley, or left on the table at a cafe. Share a part of yourself and set your art free into the universe, just for the pure joy of it. 

Abandoned art at a soccer stadium in Gulu, Uganda  
How often have you created a piece that you're not able to finish? The creative juices stop, ideas fall away, you're sick of looking at it, your creativity turns to another piece, time runs out, whatever the reason, you are on the edge with this piece. And it haunts you. It gets lost under piles of other projects, and when you re-discover it, the same thoughts run through your head..."I have to finish this... what can I do with this thing...collage over it, splash acrylics on it, or just stuff it back under a pile until I am inspired to give it new life." Sound familiar? 

I have a feeling that my boat has struck, down there in the depths, against a great thing. And nothing happens! Nothing … Silence … Waves. Nothing happens? Or Has everything Happened and we are standing now, quietly, in the new life?”–    Juan Ramon Jimenez

I have unfinished projects that would find a good home with another appreciator of art... perhaps my art could inspire another. This is a way to recycle art, give it a fresh start through the eyes of someone else. I feel better about my piles of hidden art already.

The Abandoned Art movement began around 2012 by an artist, Michael deMeng. Abandoning art in random public places for others to discover, keep and enjoy, was something he had been practicing for years already. I summarized some of his tips and suggestions below.
A few of Michael's suggestions:
  • It's important to let one's art live a life beyond its creator. Imagine what becomes of your art after it is gone.
  • Some artists can't seem to let go of their work…even when they sell it.  This is a great way to learn to move on.
  • It's a generous way to share work with an unsuspecting human being. We all struggle to make ends meet, and this is a way to encourage people to stay involved in the arts.
  • This is good for the soul. A random kind act.
Here is how to play:
  1. All you have to do is create a piece of art.  (as simple or as elegant as you like)
  2. Write a little note explaining that the art is a gift. 
  3. Also mention that if the finder would like to share info about it's fate they can contact you via email. Then you can share the info with the Art Abandonment group if you wish. Its not a bad idea to leave you're web address contact info. You never know…you might have created a new patron.
  4. Also a good idea to photograph what you're leaving behind.
  5. Then leave it…walk away…run…try not to get caught.
  6. Then on Facebook share the location and photo of your gift with other art abandoners.Here's the group's address:
  7. Keep your fingers crossed that someone lets you know what became of it. A few artists have already been contacted by the "finders".

Here are some examples of notes that some artists have attached to their art:

"I am one of many artists who want to share a small slice of what we love to do. If you are so inclined, please leave a message to this address to inform us of it's fate."

(enter an email address here, where you can receive messages, then repost the message on the Art Abandonment page for all to enjoy)

Sounds simple enough! I'm going to give it a try too. Do I abandon art I already have that I need to let go of, or do I create something just for the project. I think I'll pick one from my "need to finish pile". Next I have to choose a spot... that could be a tough decision for me. But three spots come to mind... Balboa Park, the beach, or somewhere around the neighborhood. I will share my process as it happens. I would love to hear from you, please share your process right here!


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