Keri Smith (artist, author, and proponent of guerilla art) defines guerilla art as “anonymous works of art installed, performed, or attached in public spaces, with the distinct purpose of affecting the world in a creative and thought-provoking way”. I own several of Smith’s books including The Guerilla Art Kit and while I haven’t put any of them into action, I do find her ideas interesting. Her suggestions for guerilla art include things like going out late at night when you’re unlikely to be seen and leaving sidewalk chalk messages on street corners, making and putting book plates into books and leaving the books around for others to find (much like bookcrossing does), or creating “fortunes” – little slips of paper with positive affirmations on them and leaving them in random public places for others to find.
I must admit that when I first read her ideas I thought they were sweet. They seemed like little moments of joy that I, for one, would be thrilled to find as I go along through my daily life. I also thought that leaving pieces of art for others to find sounded like fun. But, the latest issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine has me thinking. Apparently, last month they asked for readers to tell them what they think of guerilla art. Many reactions were positive but they printed one letter they received that was not. In it, the writer said that they viewed guerilla art as being akin to graffiti or littering. That gave me pause for thought and now, I’m not sure exactly what to think now.
So, I’m throwing it out there for all of you. I’d love to hear what YOU think about guerilla art. Is it joyful and fun or is it just a way of trying to add an acceptable spin to littering?