Another crazy idea....

I've gotten great advice here (got talked out of the walk-in art trailer, but I did buy a trailer for transporting art)... but I like to keep things moving and try to think differently. I recently bought 27 - 48"x60" canvas for $10 each... and I'm thinking about "abandoning" 10 of them. I already practice art abandonment and leave smaller paintings in Ikea, grocery stores and gas stations... but nothing this large. 

So here my plan (talk me out of it or not)... I'm painting ten of these right now, and I plan on leaving them in the median on a major street close to me the last weekend this month. The median is pretty wide and has trees that I can lean the canvases on (and lightly held with bungee cords). Basically turn the median into an art gallery. Each piece is different. I anticipate some will get taken home and some vandalized. Code enforcement is not real active on weekends so I don't think the city will get too involved. I could get fined of course, I guess the charge would be either littering or causing distractions for drivers.

I did abandon five 36x48 pieces in a city park last year for National Art Day, but that got me a letter from the parks department to " please find somewhere else to display your wares".  

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  • After all the feedback here I decided to try a small test and left one piece bungeed to a pole at a light. Within 10 minutes a truck with an older couple pulled into turn around area, woman got out and went up and looked at he piece carefully and then detached it and they drove off with it. Can't tell if she looked like she liked it or just took it for the heck of it. So I've decided it was a failed idea and I'm going to do this differently: using instagram I'll start abandoning a piece once in hour in a safe place, with a hint and the next drop off included in the photo. I'll do this 8 times, the last drop off being at coffeeshop where more of my art is featured. I was also going to abandon 60"x48" pieces until I also realized that might not into a small car, so I'm sticking with 30x36 and 36"x48". Gosh I miss art festivals. 

  • Rick,

    I’ve read your post and the responses to it and I’d say if your heart is in this project, just do it. Just do it. The country is gripped by utter madness right now, with blubbery good ole boys carrying semi automatic weapons in the street. In that context I hardly think that your public art could be considered a distraction or hazard of any kind. Just go ahead and try to introduce some sanity and beauty into the public square. 

  • I was in Goodwill one day looking through the housewares when I spotted a beautiful tray and said, Oh, I love... oh, wait, that's mine.  Some work goes to them.  I tried putting pieces in the alley, but the high schoolers just broke them to pieces and I had a big mess to clean up.

    • Peggy has good points. We artists work hard to get into the best shows so that the people who see our work will appreciate it. We know that only a select few have a desire to own our pieces, and that is even speaking about successful artists.  In that perspective, leaving artwork at Walmart doesn't seem like having much respect for your work.  There is a good chance that NO ONE who happens upon it will even like it. 

      I think that you should ask yourself a few questions so that you can pin down exactly what you wish to accomplish, then go from there.

      • Offhand it sounds like you equate selling as respecting. Sometimes doing for the sake of doing it, then letting it go can have it's own benefits. If you become attached to your art you might be thinking about it as some sort of gift-from-on-high and it can't be replaced, or done again better. "Art" is not a irreplaceable commodity that will suddenly go away - its ink/paint/etc on paper/canvas and thats all it is. It's material. I'm not a hippy, I have a house, 3.5 cars, 3 kids in college, and a job. 
        As far as my art not getting picked up, that has never been an issue. I've left art in Ikea twice and watched both times as someone took the art down and put it in their basket (once took 1.5 hours, the other 10 minutes), I've gotten emails from people that have found my art at gas stations, grocery stores, and from the walmart drop. Giving should NOT be seen as sacrificing. Haven't you ever just sat down and ripped up art you've finished and you just felt like it wasn't good enough? Let it go, do more, move on.
        Besides I've only been painting on canvas since January 2019, still haven't found my style, maybe seeing it on the street will give me some outside perspective... and the art that gets nabbed first will be a indicator too.

        • No,  I do not equate selling with respect. I wanted to let you know that asap because I don't mean to offend you.

          I like when people who see/purchase my work appreciate it. The selling, the money part, comes from need, as that is my financial contribution to the household. I have been working full time as an artist with no other job for a long time, so I may see it a bit differently... I'm working today. 

          I picked up the painted rock in my yard yesterday to move it to the other street on my corner.  It has a pretty little 2 inch flower painted nicely on it in about 4 different colors.

          I can see how leaving that for people to find would be pleasant as it's pretty and most everyone would see beauty in it.   

          I don't see anything wrong with what you are suggesting doing. But you did come here for advice. My advice is to pin down exactly what you wish to accomplish and go from there.

      • That's true.  People don't even like it, which baffles me.  At lower end shows, I'd hear comments about my work like you could get it cheaper at Target, and the like.  The pieces I give to Goodwill are not salable, or they're ideas that didn't work out so well and I'm tired of carting them from show to show.  If it's good work but broke or something, it's hanging on my fence in the back yard.  Hey, I like my work.

  • Nice, a selfless and heartfelt project!

  • Rick, why do you want to do this?  What is the benefit either to you or to society at large?

    • Same here. On the street could be a really bad idea. If there is a crash because of a distracted driver, you might be liable in some way.

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