Sunday, February 1, 2009

Life Artists Unite: Those Who Make the World More Whimsical/Surreal/Wondrous


If you are a dreamer, come in.
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer . . .
If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire,
For we have some flax golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!

~Shel Silverstein

Imagine this: you're walking down the street, and the trash can is looking at you.

Or you're dragging your hand along a brick wall and discover a secret city between the cracks.

Or you're at a cafe, and a girl pulls off her hat, removes a handful of treasures from her bag, and starts playing a game with her tablemates.

Art isn't just paint on a canvas or clay on a pottery wheel. Anything that makes you stop and think and see the world in a slightly tilted way? That's art too. In my travels around the net, I've discovered quite a few artists who are making the places they live a bit more surreal, whimsical, and wondrous.



Every day I see such lovely things.

ColorMeKatie documents tiny adventures in NYC--sticking hearts and eyes and butterflies in unexpected places, dying food unexpected colors, dancing with strangers and photographing missions with Improv Everywhere. Her photos have a wonderful sense of color and composition, and every post makes me want to go out and have an adventure, too. The best part of ColorMeKatie is the integration of art and everyday life--so inspiring!



Lea Redmond’s other creative projects range from socially-engaged conceptual artwork, to projects with youth, to small performances reminiscent of magic tricks. In a nutshell, she loves to make things. Things that inspire. Things that tell stories. Things that spark critical thinking. Things that question. Things that make us wonder. Things that envision and create a new world.

Recipe dice and The World's Smallest Postal Service. Poetry ribbons and reader-named crayon colors. Matchbox theaters, creative wedding consultations, and earrings for spontaneous seeding. Lea Redmond proves that you can be whimsical and environmentally conscious with her quirky, earth-friendly projects, crafts, and performances. When I first discovered this site, I gasped in delight and devoured every word. Find treasures in her Curiosity Shoppe, read about her Art Projects, and keep up with her latest works on the Leafcutter Designs blog. The World's Smallest Postal Service was recently featured on BoingBoing.



When Leonardo's da Vinci's pupils were stuck for inspiration he advised them to make a study of a crack in the wall, and it's true that when you spend time engaging your imagination with such a crack, all sorts of possibilities and new worlds may begin to appear...

Helen Nodding's website is called Stories from Space, but her work is thoroughly terrestrial.  She creates castles for spiders, fairy-lit caverns for squirrel gods, a bestiary's worth of mythical bugs, and messages in moss.



ABC Adventures began one dreadfully boring night in Tempe, Arizona. Elizabeth Adventure and Brian Adventure were sitting at her house, determined to have an exciting, adventure-filled night but were running dry on ideas. We wished we’d had a book that was full of awesome things to do almost anywhere, any time, any day of the week. Since no such book existed as far as we knew, we decided it was imperative to create such a thing and share it with the rest of the people in the world who would most certainly, at some point, be as bored as we were that night. While the physical book is still our goal, we’ve chosen to publish our adventures as we go on this blog.

When you've been all shook up from reading arty blogs and want to go out into the world and do something, ABC Adventures is your guidebook to cheap fun: bubbles, moustache-wearing, tree-climbing and secret-note-leaving. They love reader participation, so send in your own adventures!


plain and simple, the mission is: to spread big or small bits of love and things that make you smile and laugh, little bits of unexpected happiness and affirmation. we believe in feeling good and spreading it; we want everyone everywhere to know that somebody somewhere loves you. because you are amazing in all your strange and wonderful ways.

here you will find lists on how to love yourself more, beautiful things, ways to share your beauty & knowledge & love. you will also find stories of people who have discovered YOU ARE REMARKABLE through the tangible guerrilla love sharing.

Does what it says on the tin. While the sites above aim to spread art, this one looks to spread love--which becomes a kind of art in itself. I love the List of Ways to Heal a Broken Heart, secret gifts, and love letters to & from.

Want to join them?


1. NamelessleTTer is a collaborative art project where people from all horizons leave personalized bookmarks in books with the goal of seeing other readers discover them. Library-based arting? Awesome.

2. Cakespy created faux cupcakes with inspiring messages and left them for the world at large. “The ultimate goal was a momentary escape from everyday worries, and a small reminder that yes, life can be strange, but sometimes sweet.”

3. Zoomdoggle's on a mission to send out 1,000 love letters.

4. Magnets + plastic army men, dinosaurs, and aliens +magnet friendly surface = Vertical Wars! Guttermonkey on Livejournal tireless documented his own tiny plastic battles: Post 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. (Noting that I don't necessarily endorse the views of the first website, but I do like reading posts about weird art and ghost stories.)

5. Are you a fiber artist, or just a chick (or dude!) with sticks? Join the Global Guerilla Knit Up Challenge!

6. If it wasn't for Keri Smith (and Jerry Spinelli--Stargirl, naturally), I wouldn't know about the crazy world of guerilla art. Read her post on How to Be a Guerilla Artist as a primer, and this interview at Art News for in-depth exploration of her work and philosophy.


Maybe Renée said...

This is everything I needed to read right now.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for tipping me off to this fabulous post, you got it in one... when peole aske me why.. just to make the world a bit more fun, magical, absurd.

And there is so much here to investigate, thankyou thankyou thankyou.

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