In June, I decided that it would be fun to do a collaborative guerrilla art project. I wanted to involve as many people as I could at the same time, and mix different styles together to create a street art installation here in Baltimore. I contacted some people I thought might be interested, and almost everyone I asked was! I left a few slots open, and asked who else wanted to participate on my blog and the response was overwhelming.
I purchased a giant floor puzzle that is intended for children to draw on. We basically did the same thing as a group of thirty-six people, just on the next level. I numbered each piece, and indicated what side of the jigsaw the artist would be working on. (I purposefully did not label the orientation of the piece for each person, though. I decided that if someone contacted me to ask which way their piece faced, I would tell them, but no one did.) I slid them into envelopes with detailed instructions and mailed them all over the United States and to five other countries (Canada, Scotland, England, Norway, and Australia)!
Pieces trickled in, and eventually all the art was here. I was overwhelmed by the creativity that was poured onto these white cardboard cutouts. There was mixed media, collage, painting, dried flowers, stickers, fabric, balloon pieces, buttons, drawings, stains, patterns, themes, glitter. There was color, creativity, and originality. I honestly can’t thank you enough for participating.
Warning: Before you move on, be warned that there is one piece that is graphic/NSFW. Don’t want you to get in trouble in your cubicle!
The final product was glued together using a combination of adhesives including Mod Podge, Elmer’s spray, and good old fashioned hot glue. The pieces varied in depth, so things did get a little tricky, but eventually everything fit together into a beautiful melted collection of art from all over the world.
I have taken individual photos of each piece of puzzle art and you can view thumbnail sizes below (and possible links to that artist’s website, blog, or social media page if you want to know more about them!), or you can find the same information looking through the Flickr Album, which has bigger sizes and quality images. There’s also a gif slideshow at the bottom of the post if you don’t feel like scrolling.
The puzzle was installed (with the help of Joe; and photo credit goes to him on the one of me with the final project) on an abandoned building in Baltimore. If you’re local, you can visit it! It’s on E. 20th Street in between Greenmount Avenue and Boone Street. I like to add color to areas that don’t have much visual joy already, so this was a perfect spot for it. Lots of pedestrians passed by and complimented as we put it up, and I really hope that it brings many smiles. I also wheat pasted a sign next to it, explaining that the art was made by thirty-six artists from around the world, and to come to my site to find out more information. (Please let me know if you’re visiting my blog because of that reason!)
Here are some close-ups of the puzzle once it was put together. I thought the synchronicity of the formation was beautiful. I mentioned that I didn’t lay out the orientation of any of the pieces beforehand, so some of them are “upside-down”, but I like it that way. Everyone took a chance, everyone created something gorgeous that then took on a smaller portion of a larger piece.
I loved that the people who used rhinestones were next to each other. Many of the detailed patterns and textures ended up as neighbors. Black bled into black and shades of purple mixed together as if it were planned that way. And then of course, there were stark differences, demonstrating the complete individuality of the artists’ and the work they created.
I am so incredibly proud of all of you. I appreciate you sharing your art with my mailbox, Baltimore’s streets, and the world via the internet! The best part about this project is that it couldn’t have happened without each and every one of you. You are all an equal part of this collaboration.
There’s already a demand for another one of these projects, and yes I plan on doing one again, but it won’t be till next year! The remainder of 2015 is going to be focusing on my book, but always keep an eye out because I do interactive projects all the time!
I thought it would be cool to have a few “Meta Puzzles” printed, using an image of the completed puzzle as the image for a new jigsaw puzzle! If you’re interested in getting one, you have till August 14th to let me know. They’d be $10 plus shipping (US- $1, International $3, so $11 and $14 respectively). The puzzle will be 7.5 by 9.5 inches and 80 pieces. I’m only going to order as many as people are interested in, so do it now! This is your only chance.
To order, just PayPal me money ($11 or $14 depending on your country) to email@example.com using the “send to friends and family” option so neither of us are charged any fees. Include your shipping address in the notes section, and on August 15th I’ll have them printed up and get them mailed out to you ASAP.
Do you notice any cool patterns in the puzzle as a whole? Do you have a favorite piece? Would you want to participate in a project like this in the future? I’d love to hear what you think.
[yks-mailchimp-list id=”b3fc318e75″ submit_text=”Get Happy!”]
This is SO COOL!
Do they have a “Before I Die…” wall in Baltimore?
They don’t. I’ve considered using Candy Chang’s instructions for making one here, but I never got around to it. Next year maybe!
If you end up doing that, PLEASE LET ME KNOW! I’m local(ish) to you and would LOVE to participate 🙂
Yeah! Keep an eye out in January, but I’ll try to remember to come back to this post to remind people who expressed interest in the first one. 🙂
Oh wow, it turned out so magically beautiful. Wish I could see it in person! LOVE your ideas, Mary, you’re always so inclusive and the end result is so unique. Thank you for giving me the chance to be a part of this!
Thank you, Olivia! You’re amazing. I love the end result too, and thank YOU for being a part of this!
MARY IT TURNED OUT SO GOOD oh my goodness! It’s funny how big the pieces were and how small it looks up on the wall, but it’s still such a burst of color and art, and the smallness seems to only add to the magicalness. Great job on your puzzle pieces, everybody!
Ah! I’m so glad you like it. And yeah it took up my entire back seat, but in the grand scheme of things I guess it’s not that big! But neither are we, and we can still make a difference. <3 Thank you for participating!!
Way to take advantage of the metaphor!
This came out amazing!! I cant wait til you host another project! I would love to participate.
Yes! Keep an eye out in January!
Thank you so much!!
Hope you will not mind me taking a few of the thoughts from this informative article someplace?
I guarantee full credit. This could be the first time that I wanted to do
something similar to this after great materials from http://www.rtjournal.org/stop-stealing-dreams/. Thank advance and you, and keep your spirits upward!