What makes art so special is not just the artist's ability to bring an idea into physical form, but the hidden message - the artist's journey that lead to their unique style.
The representation of crows in art take on a number of meanings. They may be seen for their mystical value, or as a sign of bad omen. In many cultures, they are seen as messengers or tricksters.
In my art, crows are a representation of guardianship. These birds are incredibly intelligent, as many are! If you know me personally, I've likely told you at least once that my parrots are surprisingly intuitive - it's like having a toddler in the house!
When I was young, I had a close connection with my Grandpa Al. We shared the same birthday, and he made me feel safe. He passed early in my life, but I was told that he would say that he would return as a crow. They were an important symbol to him, and this didn't become relevant to me again until I traveled out west.
In Petrified Forest National Park, I would make my way through the trails and road and often find crows nearby. They were comfortable enough to approach, and always had an intelligent, deep gaze that made me feel safe and looked over. I spent many hours roaming trails alone, but never feeling in danger. The crow rode thermals overhead, slowly gaining altitude, looking out for hundreds of miles as they did so. Because of this, the crow will always be a symbol of intelligence and guardianship in my art.
Next time you see a piece of art, take a close look and see if you can find symbols that represent the artist's personal journey!
Original watercolor painting created for a client looking to bring earth tones and natural elements into his city apartment.
I was SO excited to find some canvases on sale today! I have qute a bit of smaller ones here in the studio, but was really hoping to be able to scale things up.
In the years following college most of my time was spent working full time and making art whenever there was a free moment - long story short, it wasn't too often! While my subject became more focused and my craft improved, things were getting stale. Interpretations of my ideas grew stagnant, I decided to freshen things up and take a class with a wonderful local artist and friend here in San Diego. The theme of this class was “The Gift of Empathy”, we could work in any media with just a few guiding criteria. When the theme was revealed, I was a bit concerned as at the time since I had just experienced the sudden loss of a friend - there was very little empathy in my body and I wasn't sure how to refill the reserves. Then we were given our secondary project: Abandoned Art. This was a new idea to me, but just a quick search on social media revealed a large community of folks who participate in this gift giving activity!
The idea behind it is simple - put your art out into the world and delight those who find it. I found the whole process therapeutic and exciting! You see, when you place the art you shouldn't necessarily stick around to see who finds it. When I make abandoned art, it is my gift to a complete stranger. After all, who wouldn't want to find an unexpected gift while going about their day? It makes the world feel a little brighter and more complex - is this real?! At first I thought I would be sad to not know where my creation ended up, but then I realized the act of releasing this creative energy was so fulfilling and satisfactory by itself!
Just try it once, you'll be hooked!
What counts as “Abandoned Art?”
Abandoned art can be many things, here's some ideas to get you started:
It should be something you physically made, I make mine with intention and love to give it a soul.
The first step in creating abandoned art is to develop your idea, Do you have a message? Maybe you're drawing cards with yoga poses to encourage inner peace, or painting funny looking dogs for a laugh! Or, it could be community conscious like knitting scarves and hats to leave around town for the needy. Because we were encouraged to create many pieces and experiment a bit, I looked around my studio and knew exactly where to begin. There was quite a bit of heavy duty cardboard lying around, so I cut it into 4x6 pieces and pulled out my brand new paint markers. On these tiny canvases I illustrated an idea of "unity" through basic figures and messages of peace.
After the creation process, I prepared simple labels. This is a pretty dang important step for multiple reasons:
Here are the labels we used for this project, I made this pretty quickly (and at no cost!) at Canva.com :)
Once all your pieces are made and labeled you’re ready to put them out into the world! I've left mine at:
Local Coffee Shop (With the owner's permission of course!)
Also think of places relevant to your community, is there a landmark people always visit? Maybe you live in a tourist town and want visitors to have something to remind them of their trip. Where can your art have the most meaning? While at a doctors appointment, I left some around the building for folks who may need a pick me up :) If they’re small enough, you can keep some in your backpack or purse for opportune moments during the day!
So reader, here's my question to you:
Have you ever tried Abandoned Art, or have you ever found any? Share your experiences below!
Thanks for reading!
The #sandiegoreader recently put out a contest to artists to decorate their cover - I saw an opportune moment to get Sheriff Joey out in the world! I painted him and his crow deputy surrounded by prickly, colorful cacti and sent it in, crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.
Guess who was selected as 1st runner up?!
Check out Sheriff Joey in the latest edition of the San Diego Reader, Page 16!