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Street Art Rocks!
March 7, 2011 1:25 AM   Subscribe

Last month our family watched "Exit Through the Gift Shop." We loved it. In fact Gracie was bound and determined to become a street artist when she grew up... Now of course we would never in a million years damage anyone's property. But we wanted to do something artsy. Something stealthy. Something public. Then I had a bright idea... A gallery of dozens of small rocks with cartoony faces hand-painted on them and placed back outside. (Via CNLT. previously. )
posted by ShawnStruck (40 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Artsy? Check!
Public? Check!
Stealthy? Check!
Fun? Double check!!
And in no way damaging.


I like this, but Artsy + Public + Stealthy could be a little more damaging.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:18 AM on March 7, 2011


Great stuff! Perhaps more Antony Gormley than Banksy, but great stuff.
posted by Grangousier at 2:49 AM on March 7, 2011


Grand Haven, Michigan, in case anyone is wondering.

48 rocks eh, well, in the grand scheme of things, I guess not a big deal.

There are 5,874 students in the Grand Haven School district... if each of the little artists did 48 rocks you would have 281,952 cute little faces... if they then placed them all in clever locations, you wouldn't be able to get through the door of that Barber Shop, and you would be climbing over piles of little faces to get out to the end of the Light House.

But, there is a precedent here that I can support I guess. When I throw that coffee cup (in my mind the Starbucks Logo really IS a work of art) out the car window, I'm doing it so someone else can come along and admire it. hmmm..I think I'll put that project on my blog.

written by someone who has come across too many clever little art projects in locations that should be left natural without someone else insisting that they have some neat little way to improve it for me by putting fairy doors on trees in the woods or stenciling clever sayings on 100 year old buildings.
posted by tomswift at 3:27 AM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are 5,874 students at the Grand Haven School district... if each of the little buggers skipped all the way to school one day - harmonic vibrations! earthquake! famine! death. Fin.
posted by facetious at 3:56 AM on March 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


I don't feel no way about this project. Keeps the kids busy I guess. But I was stopped in my tracks by this line: "I bought a big sack of rocks..." The American enterpreneurial spirit lives!
posted by Jode at 4:00 AM on March 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


jode, me too. Bought? What!? Talk about missing the point of "exit through the gift shop".
posted by dabitch at 4:01 AM on March 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


I bought a big sack of rocks

ur doin it wrong rocks are free xthxbye.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:30 AM on March 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


I wish I could find the relevant Cul de Sac comic sequence.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:50 AM on March 7, 2011


My kid beat up your honor student Banksy wannabe.
posted by bardic at 4:53 AM on March 7, 2011


um.

I've been drawing faces on rocks for years. all around the world, actually. not cartoony faces, though...it began when I found a rock near the Dead Sea that looked as though it was screaming; I merely outlined the shapes on the rock and added eyes looking skyward, then placed it back on the ground where I found it. sure, I've found rocks which looked like they had smile-potential a few times, but most of the time the rocks are already basically screaming when I find them.

I'm sure there's an Earth metaphor in there somewhere, and I'm sure my using a petroleum product to further pollute said Earth is part of it.
posted by squasha at 4:54 AM on March 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jesus. It's like the Senior Center in this thread. Did you guys all wake up on the wrong side of the bed? This is a cute project! You dudes are always like THE ARTS WONT SOMEONE THINK OF THE ARTS but when someone does THE ARTS it's all "Feh, that arts is old! I disapprove!"
posted by GilloD at 4:57 AM on March 7, 2011 [17 favorites]


It's like the Senior Center in this thread. Yep that's Mefi for you.

I, for one, know what I'm doing to pry the kids off the TV next weekend.
posted by fungible at 5:02 AM on March 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is awesome. I approve, even if the rocks were bought. (Does Banksy not buy paint?)
posted by ocherdraco at 5:05 AM on March 7, 2011


Perhaps the ground is frozen and covered in snow in Grand Haven, Michigan this time of year thus preventing easy access to free rocks.
posted by sciencegeek at 5:08 AM on March 7, 2011


Jesus. It's like the Senior Center in this thread. Did you guys all wake up on the wrong side of the bed? This is a cute project!

Sure, but one of the defining qualities of Banksy's work is that it's arguably vandalism. Removing that aspect for this project seems... weird. Like if your kid reallyreallyreally liked Jackson Pollock, but you decided against doing an art project that drips paint everywhere, because it's messy.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:17 AM on March 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Gracie was bound and determined to become a street artist

Gracie's 10, let her just want a pony.

(I liked the pictures and the idea, just don't buy Gracie wanting to be a street artist)
posted by ciderwoman at 5:40 AM on March 7, 2011


Apparently ageism also lives.
I don't approve or disapprove. I didn't know you could buy rocks.
posted by Jode at 5:47 AM on March 7, 2011


I love this and I'm going to do this with baby theBRKP when it gets warmer. Except that I'm not going to buy the rocks. We are going to steal them. He gets the glorious pleasure of indulging in a one year old's natural state (messy! messy!) and I get to add some goofiness to the world.

Pbbbt to the rest of you senior citizens.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 5:48 AM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Reminds me to Robert Crumb's cotton reels.
posted by Paul Slade at 5:58 AM on March 7, 2011


written by someone who has come across too many clever little art projects in locations that should be left natural without someone else insisting that they have some neat little way to improve it for me by putting fairy doors on trees in the woods or stenciling clever sayings on 100 year old buildings.

This project is not like either of those things, nor is it like littering.
posted by rollbiz at 6:08 AM on March 7, 2011


I liked the pictures and the idea, just don't buy Gracie wanting to be a street artist

I can't speak for Gracie but I wanted to do some sort of street art after watching "Exit".

Oh, and after seeing "The Three Musketeers (1973)" at the age of 8 I wanted to be a musketeer. I spent the summer carrying a car radio antenna tucked into my belt-loop.
posted by sexymofo at 6:10 AM on March 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Cute rocks!

I can't help reading that whole entry in the voice of Ned Flanders, though.
posted by craichead at 6:16 AM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you paint a rock this way, its mother will refuse to feed it and will roll it out of the nest.
posted by orme at 6:16 AM on March 7, 2011 [10 favorites]


When I was a kid we had pet rocks. I even sold a few at the annual school carnival. Now, every Halloween I try to gather together four or five rocks and turn them into Frankenstein and the gang. They've become some of my favorite decorations.
posted by Sailormom at 6:34 AM on March 7, 2011


Sure, but one of the defining qualities of Banksy's work is that it's arguably vandalism.

I think the interest is less in emulating Banksy exactly and more in exploring the idea of unauthorized/unofficial public art. I actually think they found a pretty clever solution. It's not mind-blowing, but it's cute, and I'd bet it was fun. Good enough for me in this case.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 6:38 AM on March 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm kind of surprised someone would watch that movie and still want to do street art.
posted by smackfu at 6:40 AM on March 7, 2011


I think this idea...."rocks"!!!!
posted by pearlybob at 6:40 AM on March 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


I liked the pictures and the idea, just don't buy Gracie wanting to be a street artist

Eh, I saw Convoy as a young impressionable girl and wanted to be a trucker for a year. Kids are weird like that.
posted by ValkoSipuliSuola at 7:09 AM on March 7, 2011


Art is meant to be shared and public. Art is meant to surprise and delight. What a way to teach this to your kid. I am totally doing this with my son when he's old enough.

Also, a bag of river rock costs like $5. I live in the city. I could walk 3 blocks and spend $5 at the local hardware store, or I could drive somewhere outside of town where I might find 200 rocks. Who am I kidding, I'd steal them from the neighbor's garden.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:19 AM on March 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


I would so do this! Including buying the rocks. We're a state built on limestone, so all you rock-privileged people with your "I have rocks in my own front yard" elitism can go suck it.
posted by misha at 7:31 AM on March 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Eh, I saw Convoy as a young impressionable girl

It was the dark of moon on the 6th of June...

You ever want to get your fill of cringe-inducing 1970s fads, dig up a video clip of CW McCall performing his song on a TV variety show, complete with CB radio.

(I'm not even sure the song was featured in the movie, but that's what "Convoy" brings to my culture-rotted mind.)
posted by maxwelton at 7:49 AM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry. I have to call bullshit on this.

The rocks in the photo look like they were painted by an adult. I don't think kids would go to the trouble of creating such variety. A child wouldn't work through all the cartoony eye cliches (crossed eyes, "x" eyes, google eyes, black-dot eyes, glasses, circle-around-one eye, etc.) Of course, an illustrator would explore all those options...
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:06 AM on March 7, 2011


The rocks in the photo look like they were painted by an adult. I don't think kids would go to the trouble of creating such variety. A child wouldn't work through all the cartoony eye cliches (crossed eyes, "x" eyes, google eyes, black-dot eyes, glasses, circle-around-one eye, etc.) Of course, an illustrator would explore all those options...

You clearly don't know any kids. Any child who reads the funnies on Sunday is capable of drawing different kinds of cartoony faces. I know I did, at much younger than ten.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:12 AM on March 7, 2011


The rocks in the photo look like they were painted by an adult. I don't think kids would go to the trouble of creating such variety.

Really? I thought some were very obviously done by the kid. He states that he painted the background colors for all the rocks, and when you look at the faces, I'm thinking several of the red ones look like they came from a child's imagination.
posted by misha at 8:27 AM on March 7, 2011


"Then Isaac, Gracie, Lily, and I each claimed a color"

The dad grabbed yellow.
posted by user92371 at 9:38 AM on March 7, 2011


This is an amazing dad. Sitting down with your kids and creating things, inspiring a love of the creative act, I can't really find fault in that.

But there's also the socio-cultural environment, which should be taken into consideration. This is Grand Haven, MI. It is about 96% white, and on the Western side of Michigan near Grand Rapids, a very conservative and red area. In Michigan, there is a large divide between the western side of the state (Grand Rapids area) and the eastern side (Detroit) both politically and economically. This may be a factor in how they viewed and what they took away from Exit Through the Gift Shop.

I'm not a dad yet. I don't know how if I would have approached the subject of rebellious acts like graffiti any differently when talking to my kids about it. I'm a fan of public acts of anti-authority and rebellion. But I'm not sure how to support creative acts of vandalism to your kids while still teaching them respect for other people.
posted by formless at 10:36 AM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sure, but one of the defining qualities of Banksy's work is that it's arguably vandalism. Removing that aspect for this project seems... weird. Like if your kid reallyreallyreally liked Jackson Pollock, but you decided against doing an art project that drips paint everywhere, because it's messy.

Okay, but there's a world of difference between: "Oh no, paint on my rug!" and "Hey, everybody, get in the minivan! We're gonna go vandalize downtown!".

I get your point, but the kid is 10. If she's like 18 and decides she wants to paint huge murals under the bridge, more power to her. But her parents shouldn't be handing her spray cans and telling her it's okay to paint anywhere she likes. Street Art walks a line and it's largely the job of a parent to explain that line and then probably hang on the more conservative side.

This was a really genius way to do public art with a slightly mischievous twist while not vandalizing or damaging property. It's neutral, which is nice, especially for a kid.
posted by GilloD at 4:56 PM on March 7, 2011


But her parents shouldn't be handing her spray cans and telling her it's okay to paint anywhere she likes.

Of course not. But they could give her a bunch of sidewalk chalk that washes away and see if they could find some places that would agree to let her put something on the side of their buildings for like a day. Make the kid draw a picture, turn it into a stencil, boom. That's a little closer to "street artist" than "rock painter".
posted by 23skidoo at 7:38 PM on March 7, 2011


But I was stopped in my tracks by this line: "I bought a big sack of rocks..." The American enterpreneurial spirit lives!

There is a comment pretty far down from the author that clarifies this. I'll just quote it:
I wanted to let you know about a small text edit I just made. Originally the post said that "I bought a big sack of rocks," but now I've changed it to "I picked up a big sack of rocks." Now, it doesn't change the fact that I did indeed buy them. But on a lot of sites that were linking to this post, people were getting really worked up by that minor detail and missing the fun that followed. So I thought I'd remove the distraction.

But for full disclosure... "Who buys rocks?" Yes, I bought rocks. We were under a foot or two of snow at the time, and there's no way I'd be able to find 50 good rocks until it melted. I wanted to do the activity while the kids' excitement was still fresh, so I bought a giant bag of gravel at Home Depot for a mere 3 bucks. (And it did actually pain me to buy rocks)
Also, kids could totally make these. Talented kids, maybe kids that'll become illustrators... but kids!
posted by furiousthought at 9:53 PM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think that's great. It would be a wonderful thing if Exit Through The Gift Shop inspired a whole generation of kids to get into art (in whatever forms)
posted by DanCall at 5:36 AM on March 8, 2011


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