I meant to do a write up about Free Art Friday after my first experience with it last month (September) but completely forgot. SO! I will do that now, with pictures, and a preview of what I will be putting up for my second FAF (this coming Friday!)
Lets start from the beginning: the day after arriving home from Dragon Con I went to Little Skips for a sandwich. While waiting for my "M-Train" I sat down and scanned the room. It was then I spotted Jeannine Ortiz (@imamaker on Instagram) drawing adorable one-eyed mickeys covered in hashtags that read "FAF" and "Free Art Friday NYC." Being who I am I immediately sat down next to her and asked what she was doing. She smiled and proceeded to explain the concept of Free Art Friday, how it was something going on in other cities for a while now (Atlanta being one such city) and how DEGA (@__CB23__ on Instagram) has been slowly getting things rolling in NYC. I was excited at the prospect: a city-wide scavenger hunt every first Friday of the month where artists hide pieces of their work, photograph them in their new setting, and then post them along with hints to the location on Instagram (or simply exactly where it can be found). You then hashtag the hell out of the image with every version of "Free Art Friday" you can so people can look it up and rush out to find your free artwork.
It's the best kind of game: artists get to feel generous and giving while gaining exposure/new fans while people who normally can't afford artwork have the opportunity to snatch up a piece of art for free. I was completely into the idea and rushed home to assess what I could use. I eventually settled on three prints:
The first was "Heightened Id," a painting I completed just this summer whose original sold at Dragon Con. I sketched my name, signature, and various forms of the FAF hashtag on the matte and, once Friday rolled around, proceeded out to find a fun and unique spot that would be easy to distinguish:
The next two were much older pieces: hand-stretched and mounted works I have had for a long time and have recently retired from my show rotation. One was titled "Beneath the Trees," which I placed on a light post above a lovely newspaper dispenser . . .
. . . and next was an illustration I did my senior year of college titled "The Gift." This particular piece I decided to put up in Manhattan (having put the other two up in my own neighborhood) and stuck it on the corner of Howard and Broadway:
All three were eventually snapped up, some quicker than others. What made the experience even more exciting was that people who were setting out to find them kept me apprised of their progress on Instagram. I got to converse with the winners and other artists participating (including Jeannine) and it really did feel like an event with a fantastic sense of camaraderie.
My first Free Art Friday could have ended there and I would have been excited for the next one- but it only got better the following day. Apparently the Wall Street Journal sent someone to follow an artist around in order to write up a piece on Free Art Friday for their online and print publications. And it just so happened that this artist was one of the people who managed to snag one of my pieces (Beneath the Trees)- and when it came time to take a photo for the article the artist (John Neri) held up both my piece and one other for the shot:
So not only did I get to have fun with this- I got a lot more exposure than I expected. Ultimately I had to temper my enthusiasm because the publication failed to mention either my name or my Instagram handle in either the physical or digital articles (both of which featured my art), but it was still exciting to know I officially have artwork in The Wallstreet Journal- all thanks to Free Art Friday.
(PS: I've sent emails trying to ask them to add my name in to the digital version, but haven't heard anything back. I'll update this if something comes of it. As of writing this my name is still absent.)
So moving on: this very Friday (tomorrow) is the first Friday of October and I will once again be participating in Free Art Friday! And I'm thinking I'll want to go a little crazy: I may try to hide all 36 Nüdtendo Cards throughout the city for people to find (though I may only do a few), along with a canvas print and one other, big ticket item:
That's right! I'll be hiding this bad boy somewhere in the city- my first official Free Art Friday piece that has original artwork in it. This is one of VERY few copies of this hand-made art book I created a couple years ago as a compilation of work I had completed during the year. SO STAY TUNED AND KEEP AN EYE OUT! And if you find it and take a picture of yourself with it- post it to Instagram, tag me (@aedanroberts) in it and I'll post it here in my blog!