Tag Archives: behind the scenes

beginnings

3 Apr

walnut-tree

About a year and a half ago, I thought up a simple lesson on installation art to do with some kids I was teaching that ended up being the beginnings of Love is a Radical Act. We hung ceramic hearts in a big walnut tree on a college campus and left them there. Because the focus at the time was just on the different ways installation art functions, I was partly interested in how these hearts, which would be easy enough for someone to pick up and hang somewhere else, would or wouldn’t move from where they were originally hung.

I wasn’t around the campus very much to really see what happened, but there would be hints when I did go back. A few months later, the walnut tree was empty, but a lone heart was hanging on a bush near the parking lot. The next spring, a heart (the same one or a different one?) was hanging on a public bulletin board. (Confession: I took it out of nostalgia – it was one of the originals, and I was the one who made it, after all.)

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A year later, this past week, I found another heart hanging on one of the weaving looms. I’m continually surprised and pleased that they haven’t quite disappeared from campus.

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Even though Love is a Radical Act is about love and family and all those big, complex ideas, as an artist I’m still interested in how the hearts that get hung eventually migrate to other places. Early on, after just a couple of (he)art bombings, Kelly and I heard that someone had seen one of the hearts sitting inside a frozen yogurt shop – we definitely hadn’t left one there, so someone else did.

A few weeks after our big (he)art bombing trip to Olympia and Seattle, we got an email from a book store owner who thanked us for putting a heart through the mail slot. It was a sweet email, but we didn’t deserve the credit, or at least not all of it. Whether it was a friend of the owner, a faithful customer, or even just some drunk person walking home after midnight, it’s a great example of how the interactive nature of the project means it can change and grow and reach out to new people (in a delightfully positive way, of course).

All this is to say, we love it when we hear about people discovering our hearts hanging somewhere, and we like to imagine them continually moving about from place to place. We always welcome your stories and photos about how you happened upon Love is a Radical Act because through them we can learn what has been happening with our project.

2000+ and counting

18 Mar

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Recently we passed the 2,000 mark – that’s 2,000 handmade ceramic hearts cut, fired, and glazed. All but maybe 100-200 are out there in the world, mostly hanging in (he)art bombings. It’s funny, 2,000 doesn’t seem so big in some ways, but I also have to remember just how many hours of time they represent. It really is a milestone.

Thanks to everyone who has supported us and contributed so far. Here’s to thousands more hearts in the coming months!

why (he)art bombing is rad

7 Feb

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We know folks enjoy our blog and the photos we post. We appreciate all of our readers – and thanks to the magic of the internet, we know you are all over the world. It’s awesome.

We’ve had a great time planning and carrying out (he)art bombings and documenting them, and we have more plans up our sleeves for future (he)art bombings, both big and small.

But, given the limitations of two people working in real life versus the reach of the internet, very few of you out there have the opportunity to join us when we do a (he)art bombing event – you’re probably many many miles away or have a busy schedule or, you know, there’s lots of reasons. It’s cool, that’s life. But we still really want folks to participate in the project by purchasing their own hearts and planning their own (he)art bombing in their corner of the world.

I’m sure lots of you think that sounds like a great idea, but maybe you don’t know just how great it is. I mean, seriously, doing a (he)art bombing ends up being way more gratifying than you ever expect it to be. This can happen in two ways – let me share them.

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1. You get to enjoy your work over and over again.

I can’t tell you how delighted I am when I see that hearts we have hung months ago are still around. It’s so simple, yet there’s a real satisfaction in knowing that you’ve added beauty and a positive message to a space where potentially thousands of people have seen it.

Recently I got savvy enough to check out what kinds of Google searches were leading folks to our blog. One of them was “what are the hearts around the olympia capitol building.” That means that we sparked someone’s curiosity with our art. If you know anything about being an artist, you know that it can be very hard to get someone’s attention with what you make/do, let alone get them to invest any time into learning more.*

All this is to say, with a public (he)art bombing, you get to create something lovely and lasting that really does have an impact. Which leads me to…..

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2. You really do make a difference in others’ lives.

This can happen in two (or maybe more) ways. As mentioned above, if you do a public (he)art bombing, people will see it. They will notice. They will react.

We have had the privilege of receiving some lovely private messages from folks who were truly touched by our hearts. I would like to share a few excerpts:

“…it made my heart sing…”

“I hope that you receive something beautifully unusual & inspired out-of-the-blue soon, too!”

“I came across one of your ‘installations’ and felt the universe was sending me a love note…”

You can see other kind notes from folks in the comments on this blog and on our Facebook page. We appreciate hearing from every one of you – it’s incredibly encouraging to know that we’ve had a positive impact on someone somewhere. We look forward to creating more of these moments in the future.

But there are some (he)art bombings that are more private – or at least meant for a chosen person/family, not just for the world at large. There a great example of this in our post about Maria’s (he)art bombing at a friend’s house last fall. Another example happened recently when someone bought some hearts from us and hung them around Olympia specifically in honor of two friends getting married.

Kelly and I did a (he)art bombing a while ago that we haven’t really talked about and I’ll just share the basics here. A friend died of cancer not too long ago at a tragically young age, leaving behind a wife, young kids, family, and many friends. When it was clear that he didn’t have much time left, we (he)art bombed his house as a symbol of our love and support. And really, what else can you do in that kind of a situation, besides show your love?

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All this is to say, you might be surprised by just how good it feels to do a (he)art bombing. We are continually surprised, in a delightfully pleasant way.

*If all of this is interesting to you – the idea of making an impact in your community through art – we encourage you to look up “street art” as an entry point to learning about other ways people are making art within the public sphere. A specific example of art made to directly affect a community that you may want to read about is Carrie Mae Weems’ project Operation:Activate.

makin’ hearts

21 Sep

Between this past week’s (he)art bombings and the upcoming installation events, we really have our work cut out for us.

cutting hearts

filling the kiln

249 hearts ready for glazing

glazing

one more time in the kiln

 

 

a belated thank you

17 Sep

Thanks to a couple of generous friends, last Monday we glazed 193 hearts. And let me tell you how much more I appreciate them now, because in the past week we’ve gone through all but maybe a couple dozen of those hearts. Time to get more cut because we have installation events coming up soon. Thanks, friends!