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!