I remember several years ago when we first started writing about decorative art in public spaces. It was almost always art with a hard edge to it, like graffiti or other controversial art. Many times this type of art is equally as shunned as it is appreciated by the people who experience it. There is a much softer side to art in public spaces though.
I will always remember the guy who makes a unique art piece out of each chunk of chewing gum he sees stuck to the concrete. It’s truly fascinating chewing gum art. And then of course there is yarn bombing, which has been softening up public spaces for several years now.
These beautiful blue butterflies are yet another example of the more delicate side to art in public spaces. Artist Tasha Lewis makes each one of these butterflies by hand from recycled materials. She attaches a tiny, harmless magnet to the backside of each one. Then she puts them all over her hometown of Indianapolis to brighten up urban areas that need a little happiness. She calls her project “The Butterfly Swarm.”
She put them all over the place on telephone poles, mailboxes, recycling bins, etc. On her website she writes, “My intent is solely to transform and revive art in an urban public spaces. I hope my project has a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship with the metal sculptures on which I install.” She doesn’t just put a few butterflies out either, she puts a real swam. For example, she put an installation of 400 butterflies on an electrical box on the Northwestern University campus a few days ago. Amazing! I think this is such a beautiful way to brighten up areas that need a little facelift. I wonder what exactly they are made from and how long it takes her to create each one. It would be sad if they are destroyed when it rains, but then again, she probably looks at this as temporary art anyway. What a labor of love.
The Butterfly Swarm – Art In Public Spaces
(Click Images To Enlarge)