The Found Art NYC Project

The beginnings...
One summer, I was walking around Soho near Broadway and Houston when I came across a little 2x3 frame leaning against a building.  I guess my child like tendencies got the better of me because I picked it up.  I really liked the artwork that was in the frame, but I was kind of disappointed that the artist did not sign his or her work.  I kept the frame and took it home.

A couple of days passed and I began looking at the frame again.  I even opened it up and there was still nothing to be found about the artist.  I really like street art and love discovering who the artist is behind the work.  However, this artist still eludes me.

The next step...
I began to wonder what kind of journey the frame had.  Where it came from, where it had been, and if anyone else had found it.  At that second I came up with an idea for a social media experiment.

As an artist I like to share my work, and I also enjoy viewing art that is interactive.  Especially if the viewer can create something with the art. 

So, I thought it might be interesting to put some of my artwork in a series of frames of frames for people to find.  I also decided to include a set of instructions that instructed those who found the frames to take a creative picture and submit them to an email address.  At the bottom of the instructions would be a link for a website where people could track the frames and view other people's submissions.  Thus, the project would turn New York City into a virtual art gallery where people could express themselves creatively by taking pictures of the frames and submitting them for others to view.

I decided to create a simple WordPress page so that people could follow the artwork and view the project.

One of the first releases...
Granted I don't have time to watch what happens to a frame, but one of the first releases my wife and I watched.  We were at Union Square and we sat down on the steps.  Before we got up we left a frame on the steps.  We watched for awhile and people walked past the frame.  My wife said that we should not wait around, but we could go into DSW (a ploy for her to do some shoe shopping).... she said I could watch out the window upstairs.

So, we went upstairs into DSW.  I could still see the frame sitting on the steps.  As I was watching the frame a sales associate approached me and asked if I needed help.  I pointed the frame out on the steps and told him about the project.  He thought it was interesting.

A guy sat down next to the frame.... I thought he would pick it up, he didn't.  A girl sat down, and got up... no movement.  Finally another girl sat down.  She was waiting for a friend I guess.  When they got up the friend pointed at the frame and she shook her head.  They left.  Finally another guy sat down.  He picked up the frame. He walked around with it and then I saw him take out his cell phone and take a picture of the frame.  A minute later I got an email on my phone.... one of our first submissions!  My wife, myself and the sales associate thought it was really cool.

That was really the only time we watched what happened to a frame.  Now,  I put it down and walk away.  Usually by the time I get home and check my email there are a few submissions. 

Wave 1 and Wave 2...
Wave 1 was very random.  I took five frames and placed them in random areas and then waited for responses.  It was fun seeing where the frames ended up and how creative people could be taking pictures.

Wave 2 was a little more thought out.  I had 10 frames and there were two big events happening.  First the New York City Comic Con.  So, I took four of the frames there that had comic based images in them.  Success!  I got a large number of emails.

The next day I took the frames to the Creators Project in Dumbo (Brooklyn).  I left the frames in the exhibit areas carefully not to be seen by the people working the event.  I did not want to get into trouble.  But again success!  Several responses! 

I still have more pictures to post from these events!  But for the most part I posted all the ones that were taken inside these two events.  The outdoor ones I still need to post.

I have three more frames in Wave 2 to release!  Then I will start working on Wave 3.

The logo was kept simple, but maintains a gritty New York City feel to it.
The website is also set up in a simple way so that viewers can navigate the site with ease.
The side menu allows the user to look up information on the project.  They can also track the journey of individual frames by clicking on their name.  Also viewers can view the journey of frames through various ares of the city that they have turned up.

And of course there are links so that the viewers of the site can find out more about my artwork.  Unlike the frame that I found that wasn't signed, I have provided viewers the ability to learn more about me.

Viewers also have the capability to leave comments and follow the site.
When a viewer clicks on the title of an article they can then share it on Twitter or Facebook, or Like it.  Thus, the site remains very interactive.
The goal...
My overall goal was to create a social media experiment that would allow people the ability to interact with art in New York City by allowing them to be creative and submit their own photographs.  The project enables people to turn the city into a virtual art gallery for viewers around the world to enjoy.

The project will grow and change as time goes by.  I may create an interactive gallery where all the images can be easily viewed by clicking a link on the site.  Only time will tell how the site and the project will adapt.

Reviews of the Found Art Project...


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