Art Abandonment with Michael DeMeng

Have you heard about Art Abandonment? It makes me think of yarn bombing, which has been on my mind lately as I begin to recycle the cotton jersey pulls left over from my Alabama Chanin skirt project.  It’s about sharing art, about making art, about putting art out there in public with no expectations and no rules. Art Abandonment is something anyone can do, never mind whether or not you knit. Instead of trying to explain what it is and how you can can play along, I asked Michael to tell us about it:

I have a feeling that my boat has struck, down there in the depths, against a great thing. And nothing happens! Nothing … Silence … Waves. Nothing happens? Or Has everything Happened and we are standing now, quietly, in the new life?

– Juan Ramon Jimenez


So it is 2012…the end of the world according to some, but despair not, my fellow human beings; I have news that all is not lost.  As it turns out, artistic altruistic deeds are popping up all over the world, and that’s a good omen.  Little bits of artistic creations have suddenly started to show up in places like trees, restaurants, bus stops and a multitude of other unlikely spots.  So what does this all mean, and who are these good-deed-doers?  Well, these so called Art Abandoneers are part of a group call Art Abandonment, and their self-imposed mission is to create pieces of art and to leave them at some public location for random individuals to find.  The funny thing is that this seems to have caught on and in two weeks the membership went from 0 to 4000 and still climbing.


Art Abandonment logo by Andrea Matus-deMeng

This all started in Eugene, Oregon, while I was putting on a workshop at local organization called M.E.C.C.A.   I was doing a bit of sketching and enjoying a nice double cappuccino before class.    The sketch was simple little Faustian Diablo rising from flames.

art abandoned by Michael

After I was finished I got up and left, leaving the sketch behind on the table, with the hopes that someone would find it and give it a good home. This is not something I do all the time, but once in a while I have found it be an amusing little game.  Afterwards I posted an image on of my abandoned piece of art on Facebook, and suddenly I started to receive comment after comment after comment.  The next morning I decide to repeat this ritual; another sketch, another cappuccino, and another image of the abandoned work on Facebook. Once again a dialogue of leaving random art was bouncing back and forth across the Internet.  People seemed to really dig the idea making a piece of art and setting it free into the world, come what may.   It also seemed apparent that these “abandoneers” really wanted a forum where they could post their exploits, and with a few clicks on the computer, the Art Abandonment group was formed.


The basic idea of this Facebook group is simple:

  1. Create a piece of art
  2. Photograph the art….preferably in the location it will be left.
  3. (Optional) Leave a contact tag, so that the “finder” can get in touch with the “abandoneer” if they choose to..
  4. Post the photograph on the Art Abandonment Facebook Group
  5. Wait.  With any luck the “finder” will make contact.
  6. If contacted by the “finders,” post the response on the Art Abandonment group page
  7. Repeat.


art abandoned by Pam Carricker

So far we have received a surprising number of responses, certainly more that I would have expected, and so far they have all been very appreciative and heart-warming in sentiment.   Interestingly, even if the artist never hears anything back, for the most part it doesn’t seem to matter.  That would be a bonus, of course, but for the most part artists are doing this for sole purpose of doing good deeds in a world where acts of kindness are often overshadowed.   The funny thing is that it is addictive; once you start abandoning art you find yourself wanting to abandon more.  We all know that “all the world’s a stage”…well, now, it seems that all the world’s a gallery, as well.


If you’re interested in learning more:

Or join the Art Abandonment Facebook Group


Ricë also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.


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