Wednesday, August 11, 2010

About Papergirl

As promised I wanted to take a little time to expand on some of the motive and function behind Papergirl. The majority of this text is copied from a listing I posted on Valley Art Share, which if you are an artist working in Western Mass, or interested in Western Mass art happenings, you should join.

I feel like this sort of explanation is some what warranted, and I actually wouldn't even really call it an explanation except we are asking artists to give us their art work so we can in turn give it away for free. I can understand that from the perspective of most artists, they may feel their work is too precious to throw into the wind, and I can't argue the validity of any sentiment resembling that notion.

Papergirl began in 2005 in Berlin Germany, it was conceived by Aisha Ronniger and her pals and was developed as a means to combat tightening laws and penalties for graffiti. For them, Papergirl was about developing a means in which everything important about street art could be retained, but under a circumstance where no one could get arrested or fined.

For us, Papergirl is a way to bring our community together, to promote artists in an area where opportunities are bleak despite the reputation of being an artists community, to extend ourselves to the rest of the community that may or may not be active in the arts community or even interested, and to inspire selflessly via creative productivity.

The premise of the project is to collect works of art on paper which are then displayed for public viewing, after which all the art work is rolled into bundles and distributed via cyclists. The project has a number of objectives, the initial being that art is for everyone, much in the same way that graffiti, although illegal and sometimes not always tasteful, possesses a really progressive idea about art in that sometimes art can be free, and it's really great when people don't expect it. Yes, we give the rolls of artwork away for FREE, once your artwork becomes a part of Papergirl there is absolutely no monetary value attached to it anymore, obviously we will take good care of it, but it can not be bought.

Papergirl is such a beautiful concept because it breaks down all the pre-conceived notions that most people hold about the art world when they have never had any direct experience with it. Papergirl breaks down the barriers of who and what consists of an art audience. Much like graffiti, Papergirl makes no assumptions about its audience. Papergirl is for everyone and can be experienced and enjoyed by anyone. Papergirl says you don't have to have an art degree to understand this or to appreciate it, you don't have to be a connoisseur art collector, you could have not a penny to your name and become an art owner. It's really important that the art world makes a move to extend itself beyond the walls of its glass house to prove to the world at large that the contributions of artists are extremely important. The "art world" has a bad rap for being snobby, self righteous and reserved for those with complicated and inaccessible conceptual applications of so called beauty, people who love wine and cheese and people with fat wallets. Especially at a time when here in the States, funding for the arts is cut year after year and if once a year we do Papergirl and other types of highly accessible art based open community projects, year after year we extend ourselves to a new and random public, that might for the first time realize how important art is and might start to advocate for the arts and maybe, just maybe, we can start to change how funding for the arts is determined from the ground up.

Another important element is about community and Papergirl is designed in such a way that it defies the typical perceptions of community. Papergirl manages to remove the commonality of geography from the idea of community, which is brilliant and necessary in the art world and especially at this time. Last year we had art work come in from all over the U.S. and even the UK.
Papergirl has been around now for a few years and it has sprung up in communities all over the world. Last year when we had Papergirl in Northampton for the first year, the turn out was amazing, we had artists from 8 years old and up, we had artists from all over the map, all different races, different levels of skill, we had photographs, drawings, paintings, screen prints, wood cut prints and it was exciting and inspiring to stand in the basement of Thornes in the Dynamite space to see all this represented. It was exciting to walk around town after the distribution to see people carrying their rolls of art work, and to see how surprised and grateful the lucky random recipients of a free bundle of art work were.

It seems a fair percentage of our local population has caught wind of Papergirl but this year we want to make it even bigger and better, we want everyone to know what papergirl is and what it stands for and why it is so important.

So make some doodles and send them our way, and spread the word.