Free Art Friday | The Open College of the Arts
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Free Art Friday

Free Art Friday is a global initiative which began ten years ago. Its existence and popularity continues to grow largely thanks to social media. The object is to place an artwork on the street for any member of the public to enjoy and take home.
My Dog Sighs; a British artist, is largely credited with founding the ‘movement’ He says; The concept of Free art Friday has many strands.
For the artist it is an opportunity to create work free from the constraints of commerce, to voice an idea, shout a political message or just amuse and confuse the viewer.
Art is so often tied to a need by the artist to ‘make a living’ and constrained by gallery and dealer issues. It focuses the artist on the act itself, giving complete artistic freedom as opposed to considering financial and commercial limits.
Many free art Friday participants’ work is humorous and good natured, hoping to cheer up the walk to work of the viewer. Hoping to make them question everything. To expect the unexpected and realise that along with the need to sell, promote, fight the system and rebel, there is also a need to embellish and entertain in a non profit way without the need to cause damage to property.
The act of removing the work intrigues. Almost an act of situationist art itself. Is there guilt? Why is it taken – as part of a street cleaning operation, resigned to the rubbish heap? or coveted and displayed? Are they artists themselves? Kids, willing to steal and destroy purely for the act of rebellion or someone never faced with something completely free, not promoting or selling? After all how many things do you know that are completely free, no strings attached?
All street artists whether producing static or removable art hope to promote discussion in one form or other. “Talk about me and my work”, “Question the images thrown at you” or “Use your political power”.
The following video featured on The Culture Show; go on hit the play button!

So would you pick it up or politely walk on by? Would you sacrifice your art to the street and to strangers? And would you consider it an effective publicity stunt for up and coming artists?
Find out more on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr
Featured Image: My Dog Sighs

Posted by author: Joanne
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4 thoughts on “Free Art Friday

  • I saw something a while back about this – maybe that Culture Show programme – and have often wondered about doing something along these lines to clear out the backlog of work clogging up my limited storage space. It’s an idea I like.

  • We have been doing this here for almost six months and the artists post a snap of their “gifted” work in situ on the web. We have started trying to get a feedback from the people who find them, which would make the project even more interesting. It certainly has something almost subversive about it, as you have to surreptitiously leave the art on a parkbench, behind a tree or whatever. Invariably someone runs after you, saying that you have forgotten your “gift”.

  • Next month I’m taking part in a similar scheme called Papergirl Blackburn that originated in Germany – I guess the place name changes depending on where it is… The work will be exhibited for 10 days-ish then rolled up like a newspaper and given away at random. I’ve submitted prints from the pages of Speak My Language, which was originally printed on recycled newspaper.

    • Your submission was lovely – thank you so much Rob! 😀 The Papergirl Blackburn had a really good response. We received art from all over the world and it was wonderful to share that work with the public. The simple act of giving – the world needs more of that … There we’re a few of the people on hand out day that thought there was a catch and wouldn’t accept the gift though. On the whole it made a lot of people smile 😀

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