Misfires happen in my brain all the time. I have followed the blog Wish Jar for some time without realizing that I owned a book by its author. Until today! Finally, a tiny cerebral success.
A friend of mine gave me “The Guerilla Art Kit” because, she said that it reminded her of me when she saw it. A compliment whether I am, in her eyes, someone who would act out guerrilla art… or if I’m just someone who thinks that stuff is cool. A compliment indeed. But let’s give credit where it’s due: Blog Readers, meet Keri Smith,
“author, illustrator, and guerrilla artist”
Get to know Keri, she’s someone I’d love to spend the day with.
About one of her books via Craftzine.com:
Nat: Please tell me about your book, Wreck this Journal. What was you inspiration in writing the book?
Keri: This book is so multi-layered, there are many things that brought me to it. I was thinking about how I have been able to stick with journaling for so many years, as an avid procrastinator it seems not in my nature to finish or stick with things for long periods of time. And yet i’ve been journaling for over 12 years now. For most people working in a journal can be intimidating — many are afraid to make a mistake. The journal itself becomes a precious thing. The blank page a big hurdle.
In looking through my own journals the answer I came up with is that I give myself room to make mistakes within the journal, and at times just use it as a forum for experiments. So the idea presented itself to make a journal where the context was solely based on experimentation. What if the purpose was not to make something beautiful, but in fact do the opposite. Make a mess. Try something different. Screw it up. Use whatever you have around you at any given time, not concerning yourself with having the right materials or supplies. all of that is irrelevant. a coffee spill becomes a source, a footprint, a gesture, a quick movement. So the book itself is filled with prompts of this nature which instruct you to systematically destroy it. For some people this can be incredibly freeing. For others it instills some ingrained terror. In our culture we are taught from a young age to not wreck books, (Don’t bend the pages. Don’t write in it. Don’t get it wet.) The book asks you to do the opposite of everything you were taught, a destructive revolution of sorts that hopefully leads you into some new places. What if you just tried the opposite of what you were taught? Where would that lead? It’s a kind of forceful challenge of the inner critic and it can be intensely satisfying.
I also wanted to create a work that was very much about a physical experience connected to daily life. Not sitting and thinking about creating, but making actual physical marks. What if we stopped thinking so much?
About her hubby, from Neenah Paper:
A native of Ontario, Canada, Keri embraces the cold, even recently taking up barefoot running.
Fitness is a family tradition: her husband once biked from California to Maine. Upon completion, he asked her to marry him. “It was a ritualistic end to his single life,” she shares, “we had known each other for less than a year at the time and he told me if he finished the ride I had to marry him. I have learned a lot form him —because he’s nuts.”
About creating/blogging, from Neenah Paper‘s interview:
“I don’t believe in writing or creating something to suit a particular audience,” she says, “Why make assumptions? I stopped allowing comment on my blog. They inhibit me. If you create for someone else, you second-guess yourself. The more confidence you have in your ideas, the more risks you take. The more risks you take, the more you are rewarded.”
The best To-Do List ever, from her website. I dare you to try one:
1. Go for a walk. Draw or list things you find on the the sidewalk. 2. Write a letter to yourself in the future. 3. Buy something inexpensive as a symbol for your need to create, (new pen, a tea cup, journal). Use it everyday. 4. Draw your dinner. 5. Find a piece of poetry you respond to. Rewrite it and glue it into your journal. 6. Glue an envelope into your journal. For one week collect items you find on the street. 7. Expose yourself to a new artist, (go to a gallery, or in a book.) Write about what moves you about it. 8. Find a photo of a person you do not know. Write a brief bio about them. 9. Spend a day drawing only red things. 10. Draw your bike. 11. Make a list of everything you buy in the next week. 12. Make a map of everywhere you went in one day. 13. Draw a map of the creases on your hand, (knuckles, palm) 14. Trace your footsteps with chalk. 15. Record an overheard conversation. 16. Trace the path of the moon in relation to where you live. 17. Go to a paint store. Collect ‘chips’ of all your favorite colors. 18. Draw your favorite tree. 19. Take 15 minutes to eat an orange. 20. Write a haiku. 21. Hang upside down for five minutes. 22. Hang found objects from tree branches. 23. Make a puppet. 24. Create an outdoor room from things you find in nature. 25. Read a book in one day. 26. Illustrate your grocery list. 27. Read a story out loud to a friend. 28. Write a letter to someone you admire. 29. Study the face of someone you do not like. 30. Make a meal based on a color theme. (i.e. all white). 31. Creat a museum of very small things. 32. List the smells in your neighborhood. 33. List 100 uses for a tin can. 34. Fill an entire page in your jounral with small circles. Color them in. 35. Give away something you love. 36. Choose an object, draw the side you can’t see. 37. List all of the places you’ve ever lived. 38. Describe your favourite room in detail. 39. Write about your relationship with your washing machine. 40. Draw all of the things in your purse/bag. 41. Make a mini book based on the theme, “my grocery list”. 42. Create a character based on someone you know. Write a list of personality traits. 43. Recall your favorite childhood game. 44. Put postcards of art pieces/painting on the inside of your kitchen cupboard doors, so you can see them everyday (but not become deaf to them.) 45. Draw the same object every day for a week. 46. Write in your journal using a different medium (brush & ink, charcoal, old typewriter, crayons, fat markers. 47. Draw the individual items of your favorite outfit. 48. Make a useful item using only paper & tape. 49. Research a celebration or ritual from another culture. 50. Do a temporary art installation using a pad of post it notes & a pen. 51. Draw a map of your favorite sitting spots in your town/city. (photocopy it and give it to someone you like.) 52. Record all of the sounds you hear in the course of one hours. 53. Using a grid, collect various textures from magazine and play them off of each other. 54. Cut out all media for one day. Write about the effects. 55. Make pencil rubbings of six different surfaces. 56. Draw your garbage. 57. Do a morning collage. 58. List your ten most important things, (not including animals or people.) 59. List ten things you would like to do every day. 60. Glue a photo of yourself as a child into your journal. 61. Trasform some garbage. 62. Write an entry in your journal in really LARGE letters. 63. Collect some ‘flat’ things in nature (leaves, flowers). Glue or tape them into your journal. 64. Physically alter a page. (i.e. cut a hole, pour tea on it, burn it, fold it, etc.) 65. Find several color combinations you respond to in public. Document them using swatches, write where you found them. 66. Write a journal entry describing something “secret”. Cut it up into several pieces and glue them back in scrambled. 67. Record descriptions or definitions of subjects or words you are interested in, found in encyclopedias or dictionaries. 68. Draw the outline of an object without looking at the page. (contour drawing). 69. What were you thinking just now? write it down. 70. Do nothing. 71. Write a list of ten things you could to do. Do the last thing on the list. 72. Create an image using dots. 73. Do 3 drawings at different speeds. 74. Put a small object in your left pocket (or in a bag), Put your left hand in the pocket. Draw it by feel. 75. Create a graph documenting or measuring something in your life. 76. Draw the sun. 77. Create instructions for a simple everyday task. 78. Make prints using food. (fruit and vegetables cut in half, fish, etc.) 79. Find a photo. Alter it by drawing over it. 80. Write a letter using an unconventional medium. 81. Draw one object for twenty minutes. 82. Combine two activities that have not been combined before. 83. Write about your day in an encyclopedic fashion. (i.e. organize by subject.) 84. Write a list of all the things you do to escape. 85. Cut a random shape out of several layers of a magazine. Make a collage out of the results. 86. Write an entry in code. 87. Make a painting using tools from the bathroom. 88. Work with a medium that is subtractive. 89. Write about or draw some of the doors in your life. 90. Make a postcard that has some kind of activity on it. 91. Divise a journal entry using “layers”. 92. Divise an entry using “layers”. 93. Write your own definition of one of the following concepts, sitting, waiting, sleeping (without using the actual word.) 94. List 10 of your habits. 95. Illustrate the concept of “simplicity”.
From her book Living Out Loud:
Ha! Between Keri and Bjork this is going to catch on:
My pick from 100 ideas = “79. Find a photo. Alter it by drawing over it.” I’ll post the results tomorrow.
wishing you nothing and everything,