How to teach kids to deface public art

OK, that title’s a little misleading, but we’re competing with the holiday for your attention, so sue us. Meet Eltono, a public space artist who began by producing graffiti in 1989. His work changed into street art and has evolved to the point where he is now an international artist. Eltono is interested in how art is affected when it is not only viewed, but engaged by, the public. He directly expressed this idea recently when he participated in the Art Re-public Festival in Japan. Passersby were invited to make a series of random selections that would determine their contribution to a piece of public art. Using templates to trace with bright colors, different people each made their mark on a plywood surface over the course of 5 hours. You can see Eltono’s documentation here and watch the time-lapse video below.

It’s interesting to us to think about the method by which each choice was made. What if there were more or less numbers on the spinning arrow? What if the image surface was smaller? What if each participant’s template choice was unique? Simply put, how random can art really be? And how does the introduction of math, an exact science, affect the final image? This is a great experiment that actually teaches the viewer and the participant a lot of things about the way we think and the way art is made. You could reproduce this kind of art making at home quite easily, either by yourself, with a group, or even as a kid’s project. Give it a try and find out what image you make!

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