As my artist's statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance. -- Calvin and Hobbes

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sitting on The Nightstand

Welcome to another installment of sitting on the nightstand.

This week's (month's) must read book is "The Guerilla Art Kit, Everything you need to put your message out into the world, for fun, non-profit, and world domination, by Keri Smith" (I was saying this week's, but I haven't posted another book review in a month!! Har har)

So, the message is clear, random acts of art, beautification, and thought provocation. Smith put together this terrific little how-to guide complete with pictures, loads of ideas, pages to copy and cut out even, it's got everything...everything you need to be a guerilla artist out in the world.

Now, if you're unclear about the term guerilla artist, Smith explains that "The stereotype of the guerilla artist is someone who makes extremist work and who is constantly on the run from the law." BUT, "For the purposes of this book, I would like to expand the concept and define guerilla art as any anonymous work (including, but not limited to graffiti, signage, performance, additions, and decoration) installed, performed, or attached in public space, with the distinct purpose of affecting the world in a creative or thought-provoking way."

Whew, that's a mouthful. Lemme 'splain. No, there's no time, lemme sum up. What she means is this: It CAN be appreciated, and it doesn't have to put you on the most wanted list.

The point is, she wants you to think about your world, your environment, your neighbors, and do something to provoke a smile, or appreciation for the things they see every day. It is inherently spoken in her book that she would have you consider the enormity of your own existence, (without being too existential), although, it doesn't have to be such a deep philosophical approach, it just is by virtue of the act of doing the artwork!

She quotes Thoreau on the first page, "It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look. To affect the quality of the day - that is the highest of arts." -Henry David Thoreau

(Wow, they had guerilla artists back then? Cool!!!)
Hey, take some flowers and weave them into a fence. Arrange some rocks in a neat pattern or stack them to make a masterpiece that all can enjoy. (It could be that's what he meant, eh?)

This book was a gift to me for Valentine's Day, to inspire me. I'm totally inspired! That's why you should buy it now! Today.

Or, if you're short on cash, try an exercise from her book:

Take a book that you have enjoyed, bring it to someplace where people will be very likely to sit and find it, like a train or bus station or a bathroom perhaps. Put a note in it that says something like this: "I have enjoyed this book, and want someone else to enjoy it, too. If it's not your thing, that's cool, just set it back down for someone else to enjoy after you leave!"

There's no telling how many lives you will affect with your little anonymous acts!

I leave with a quote from the back cover, which I believe you should live by, (do pay your bills, though):

"LEAVE SECRET messages everywhere you go. Your ideas are interesting. Find yourself through RECKLESSNESS and freedom. Revel in the idea of impermanence. CREATE your own world. Give back. Doodle. Listen. STROLL. Plant. Dance. Grow."

Think about it!

Buy now!


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Things to Ponder

Don't pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches. -Andy Warhol

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
-Walt Disney