What do you think about working on a piece of artwork for hours or days, devoting yourself to it completely, loving the end result and then taking it out to a park and purposely leaving it on a bench?
You attach a note that says “Free to you” and just leave it up to chance that someone will find it who loves it as much as you do. Does it sound painful? Could you do it? What if you were the person who found it?
Art Abandonment is the practice and hobby of doing exactly that. Artists abandon everything from large mixed media canvases to painted rocks in public spaces like parks, buildings, parking lots and anywhere that a person could just stumble across it. If you follow the Art Abandonment Facebook Group you’ll see that knitted hats, jewelry, framed art, pottery and all kinds of art is being abandon by artists everyday across the country.
The artists who do it say it’s addictive. It’s the fun of knowing someone will find it and the joy of letting go. Not every finder gets in touch with the artists to let them know that they found it, but the ones that do often mention how much it brightened their day or how it came at exactly the right time in an otherwise bad day. Art Abandonment folks have faith that the right person will find their art, whether they hear from them or not.
A key element to the activity is that you need to leave a note to let the finder know that this is a gift they found. You want to include your contact info or the Art Abandonment Facebook page so they can share the story of how they found it.
Art Abandonment is not a new concept, but it was recently coined with the name by Michael deMeng who is credited with the recent interest in it. Michael would often leave drawings on tables at cafes for the servers. He then decided to take it up to the next step and he and his wife began leaving behind artwork all over town
The larger idea of Art Abandonment has inspired other trends as well – most recently the very popular act of painting rocks and placing them in public places. Rock Painting and hunting for painted rocks has quickly become a popular trend.
Are you ready to take the plunge and abandon some of your art? You might want to start with looking at the Art Abandonment Facebook Group to get some inspiration (and some courage)! Next create some art, make some notes and let them fly! We created this quick little sum up of the Art Abandonment movement for you to save for inspiration.
Photo credit for photo at top of page: Leaving yarn flowers behind for someone from Little Yellow Couch