One 4 the Show
Free Art Friday, or #FAFATL, was started by Atlanta artist KennTwoFour, who says he wanted to “curate an art show out in the streets” where “people can just make work and it doesn’t have to be graded or gauged.” Accessible, inclusive, awesome, right? Still. A bunch of artists gifting their work to our great city? As nice as that sounds, the word “artist” has always been loaded with unattainable exclusivity to me. Not so with this group.
This group? They are just nice people who want to make beautiful things “4 U ATL” (to use Evereman’s words). Art for art’s sake (and for you). When we interviewed Catlanta for the video we made about him, our initiation into the FAFATL group, he was like, “Why wouldn’t I put my work out there for people to have and take home? If I didn’t put them out for people, they’d just be sitting in my house. With me.” This is a movement that is all about encouraging people to grow an idea, make something, and put it out there for people to enjoy. And, in a way, this movement has given folks a reason to make art in the first place as it provides both the accountability and the public space to “show” what you’ve made.
And did I mention that they’re nice? For the Evereman video we made, dozens of people came out to support the production of both the short film and the art because they believe in this movement, and also because Evereman’s art is about creating community through both the production of it and the finding of it. And just a few weeks ago, we had the privilege of attending the first ever FAFATL show over at Trackside Tavern. That’s right, a FAFATL show–you know, where you pay for art work?
Now here’s where the record stops abruptly, making that weird and awesome scrubbing sound something like: errrrbbbbbbbbbbuuhhh?
You mean folks were paying for art that’s free? Yes. That’s exactly what I mean. Why? Because FAFATL is a gift. And if we lovely and beautiful ATLans want to continue to enjoy his art that is sprinkled around our city like, well, sprinkles on an ice cream sundae, then we need to support our local artists. You know, with those dollah-dollah bills, SON!
In all seriousness though, FAFATL should be thought of more as a jumping off point than a destination. Most of these artists are really trying to make a go of it, as artists. You know, quit their day jobs and all that–hey, wait a second! That’s what we did! We started off making free art videos and now we make free art videos, which we love, and we do stuff that pays our bills, which we also love! And isn’t that what we all want? To get paid to do what we love? To gift our talents when we can for free out of pure and simple gratitude? Supporting these FAFATL artists on the streets and in their shows will allow the movement to continue to grow, to continue to enrich our city. So what can you do?
You can go after some awesome artwork on Sunday, July 1. The drop is called “One 4 the Show.” You can find out who’s dropping when and where by following #One4TheShow or #FAFATL on Twitter. (We were going to post a list of participating artists, but were too afraid of leaving someone off…) And while you’re at it, you can talk to your favorite local businesses about hosting FAFATL shows. This is such a win-win (WIN!!) situation: the artists get paid for making the art that we love (and the money they make usually goes back into making free art pieces–for you!) and the place gets the added business that comes with a show for artists who have a following as awesome and loyal as that of the FAFATL group.
KennTwoFour admits that the movement has kind of taken on a life of its own, with folks stepping out of the ATL woodwork to jump at this opportunity to BECOME artists. With mentors like KennTwoFour himself and Evereman, this movement has become a breeding ground for new, young artists to find their identity on the streets of ATL. If you follow the work of Clunky Robot or Fenix, you know what I mean. Less than six months ago, we met Fenix at a production party for Evereman–back then, Fenix was ReadLotus. She started off doing origami work with pages from books. My first impression was that she was young, excitable, maybe not a “serrrrrious” artist. Since that production party, she has reinvented and refined her image–she is now FENIX! Graphic! Colorful! A truly beautiful, branded, beloved artsy sprinkle on the ATL art scene. How do you think that growth happened? Through the support and guidance of the amazing folks in the FAFATL movement.
So, if you haven’t figured it out already, we are in love with these guys (and gals). And we believe that they are making our city more and more distinctly beautiful everyday. I hope you’ll join us in supporting what they’re doing.
First things first, though–if you are thinking of becoming involved with FAFATL, as an artist or as a hunter, there are some guidelines that they ask you follow. You can find those guidelines here.
The movement will celebrate its two year anniversary on July 6, and FAFATL artists and hunters are making ready for this BIG drop. As for us, we are dusting off our running shoes and will have keys in hand early next Friday morn in hopes of scoring some of our own free art. Meantime, be on the look out for the #one4theshow drop this weekened!)
(Artists featured in this post: Fenix, ZATL, Spooky Toons, Flounder, Larry Holland, Evereman, Ars Gratis Clunky Robot, & Fenix again. To get in with all of the FAFATL folks, please follow #FAFATL on twitter!)