My addiction to Free Art Friday Atlanta began on Friday, March 2nd when I found a magnet made by graphic artists, the Peregrine Consortium. I immediately recognized the location of the piece from their photo clue on Twitter — it was the entrance to Hop City. I raced from work to the shop which was less than a mile away. Friday traffic was in full effect and the five-minute drive seemed like an eternity. I struggled to find a parking space at the busy intersection of Howell Mill and Marietta. Spying the prize in the distance I bolted from behind the wheel out onto the street avoiding cars and trucks all for a magnet. Yes, you heard me right — a magnet.
I am not alone in this frantic quest for small pieces of original artwork. Their Twitter page @FAFATL has 997 followers and that number is steadily growing.
Originally spearheaded by local artist Kenn Twofour*, this treasure hunt allows local artists to offer small versions of their work for free on the first Friday of every month. The pieces have to be waterproof (they are usually hidden outside) with all signatures and web addresses relegated to the back of the item. Pieces are hidden around town and photos are taken of their location. These photos are then posted on Twitter with the hashtag #FAFATL. At that point, it is up to people like me, the hunters, to find them. Check out the hunting guidelines here. If you are the first one to reach the location and nab the treasure, you take a picture of it and send it to the respective artist via Twitter.
Not only does the event challenge artists to make new original pieces, it also serves as an opportunity for the hunters to get out and explore neighborhoods they may have never visited before. Artist Fenix says, “I like using social media to sort of trick people into putting down their phones and to really look at what a cool city we live in.”
On the most recent FAFATL, artist Jason Kofke hid prints from his collaboration with Chris Chambers called The Ends. Not only did my search for the work send me to Old Fourth Ward Park, which I had been meaning to visit anyway; it also inspired me to take a visit to the Beep Beep Gallery to view the full ’80s inspired series.
After speaking with some of the contributing artists I found out that the fun doesn’t stop for them after the painting and drawing is done. Artist Clunkyrobot says, “Watching somebody actually hunting and searching to find your artwork is one the most rewarding feelings. It’s awesome!” One artist whose identity I will not divulge says, “Sometimes we’ll place a piece, pose as a homeless person and watch the reaction when someone gets it. We love that. ”
What to get in on the fun? Follow the artists noted above on Twitter and don’t forget to search #FAFATL on the first Friday of every month. If you want to make pieces, get to work! May 4th is fast approaching.
*Kenn Twofour announced he was retiring from Free Art Fridays via Twitter on April 12, 2012.