Happy Valentine's Day!
By now at least 100 people have received Art Love in the Mail through my Quixotic Giving project of 2023.
Suzanne Gibbs, ©2022.
Stitch Art 4, watercolor and thread on paper, 12 x 9 inches.
When I first conceived of the idea of sending a massive amount of art in the mail back in October of 2022 I then sorta let the idea idle for a while. I mean, why-in-the-world would I ship hundreds of my original works of art and expect nothing at all in return. Who does this?
As it turns out artists do!
Many artists give art, ship art, leave art in random places and basically have a deep internal desire to surprise, delight, and inform their unintended and unplanned viewers with art (ideas).
One such project is a quilting project.
Here is an excerpt (bold added by me):
In 2020, I partnered with mental health activist/public artist/writer Nicole Leth (who also happens to be my wife) to combine her anonymous acts of compassion with my handmade quilts. Together, we started creating Affirmation Quilts and leaving them in public spaces around the country. All the quilts are entirely handmade by me and feature a hand-painted original Affirmation from Nicole. Sewn to the bottom right hand corner of every quilt is a note explaining that whoever finds the quilt can take it and do whatever they want with it. These quilts are always totally anonymous (there is no tie-back to this project or our names) and are always totally free.
To learn more on Affirmation Quilts click here.
Another free art project was, like mine, done through the USPS by renowned artist Ray Johnson.Here is what he said about his version of mail art:
“Mail Art is not square, a rectangle, or a photo, or a book, or a slide. It is a river” — Ray Johnson, 1984
Read more about his work here.
Suzanne Gibbs, ©2022, Stitch Art 7, watercolor, acrylic ink, and thread on paper, 8 x 8 inches.
A third artist I will share today that shared free art (candy) is Félix González-Torres.
He made art installations for museums where the visitors were encouraged to take a free piece of candy. These installations are not "just piles of candy" to give away, he felt there was great meaning behind the idea of the pile of candies getting smaller and then replenished on a regular basis.
A quote around the word he made is:
I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea and I had a good purpose and that's why I made works of art. — Félix González-Torres
Read more about his work here.
I am sure that with further research I could find hundreds of artists who have given their work away for free — with a message and a story behind the impulse.
For me the impulse is that the world needs connection, caring, and our voices heard. My work is imbued with my tender stories. These stories make themselves known to me only over time. Often I do not understand why I do what I do and make what I make—until months or years later.
Still, I make, because I must.
Once made, I want to share the work. You are invited to ask for the art you need in your life. I will gladly ship any work that you can still find on my website that is not yet listed as SOLD.