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Look what appeared in our local paper this week.  Pay it forward!

I purchased Paula Fenwick’s Ocean Nestbird from the ELEMENTALS Birds exhibition at SLU, though “purchase” isn’t really the right term here.  Of the nearly 40 artists who participated in the ELEMENTALS project, a good percentage of them decided to offer their work for sale in exchange for doing something to generate good will or feelings of positivity, such as donating a nice meal to a local charity.  That was the way the two exhibition organizers, Inga and Andy Hamilton, had set up the show—for artists’ works to generate good will and positivity.

Paula had indicated that her three birds were “US $56 each, or $32 if the buyer agrees to buy and give a total stranger a bunch of flowers, or $0 if buyer verbally agrees to a random act of kindness.”  So, I cogitated for a while.  I didn’t necessarily want to buy the artwork outright, because something about this show asked visitors to re-think their relationship to the world around them.  (Hmmm.  Crazy how art can do that, isn’t it?)

Therefore, as I continued to think it through, I wondered, at $32, how will I choose “the right” perfect stranger?  At $0, what qualifies as an act of kindness?

And then, my random act of kindness appeared right in front of me.  I didn’t have to go find it.  It found me.

Yesterday, I went to the local food mart to buy a few items.  In the checkout lane, a guy and his teen-aged daughter were going through the usual routine.  In this case, however, the guy’s debit card wasn’t working.  He tried four times and held it together pretty well.  (I’ve been in that situation before, and it stinks!)  He tried it again as a credit card with no luck.  He tried three times more putting a plastic bag around it, now running it up to eight times through, and nothing.  He rubbed it on his jacket.  I rubbed it on mine.  It wasn’t working.

Well, you can guess what happened next.  I paid for his groceries.  I told him and his daughter about the art exhibition and that I was trying to figure out what to do to perform a random act of kindness.  I don’t think they really cared about the whole back story, which is fine.  Maybe this debit card thing had happened before.  All I know is when I said I would cover the bill, the two of them just melted with relief.  It was pretty sweet.

The other part of it is that I used to go food shopping with my dad after my mom left our family when I was 14.  He and I (and my two sisters) were sort of on the edge, I think, trying to make sense of how to proceed without her.  I remember making a shopping list every week: ham with pineapple slices, cheez-pixies, orange soda, bread and sliced meat for lunches, etc….

Anyway, yesterday, according to the grocery receipt, the guy and his daughter bought a BC CAKE ($1.19), 80% GROUND B ($10.97), JMBO BNLS CH ($8.96), TOP RND LOND ($7.48), and two BCN WRPD BF FILETs ($2.00 each).  It came to around $32.00.

I hope Paula, Inga, and Andy will be happy to hear this story.

The transformative power of art!

Hatch Kingdom | Stickerkitty

International Sticker Exhibition


Fresh Paint – Peint Frais

Edition III

Hatch Kingdom, the only sticker museum in the world, has collaborated with Catherine Tedford, a.k.a. Stickerkitty, to present an exhibition of street art stickers and photographs from Berlin and New York City, with additional pieces from cities across Europe and North America.  As part of a larger exhibition entitled Edition III, which includes work by contemporary muralists, graffiti artists, photographers, and others, the international sticker exhibition will be on display at Fresh Paint Gallery, Montréal, Québec, from December 2, 2011, through January 29, 2011.

Founded by Oliver Baudach in 2008, Hatch Kingdom began as a small gallery space in Berlin’s alternative Friedrichsain district to serve as a platform for stickers, sticker artists, skateboard fans, and collectors.  An expanded Hatch HQ is now located in central Mitte, with two gallery spaces devoted to Oli’s ever-growing sticker collection, now numbering well over 25,000 stickers, and one gallery for rotating exhibitions by young urban street artists.

Catherine directs St. Lawrence University’s art gallery in Canton, NY, and has been actively collecting stickers since 2003, having now collected over 6,000 original stickers by hand, primarily from Berlin and NYC, with stickers also from Hamburg, Munich, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cambridge (MA), Ottawa, Toronto, Amsterdam, Budapest, and other cities in western and central Europe.  Part of the collection is being digitized and can be found at SLU’s gallery Web site.  Catherine has presented papers at academic conferences for the College Art Association, the Visual Resources Association, and the International Arts in Society; in 2012, she will present a paper entitled “WTF.  It’s Only a Sticker” at the annual CAA conference in Los Angeles.  Check her Stickerkitty blog for more information.

The exhibition at Fresh Paint also includes six original drawings and collages from “Oversized and Underpriced,” a project initiated by Oliver Baudach in which artworks on oversized sticker printouts are sold at low prices with proceeds to benefit Skateistan, a skateboarding school in Kabul, Afghanistan, for young boys and girls.

In addition to art, music, and tagging stickers, political stickers in the exhibition from Germany and the U.S. focus on anti-authority, anti-capitalism, post-9/11 surveillance measures, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the 2008 US Presidential election, the environment, oil consumption, and the economy.  Examples of these were included in a recent gallery exhibition at St. Lawrence in 2010, which was based in part on a summer research grant from the Center for International and Intercultural Studies in which three students and an alumnus traveled to Berlin and Munich to study street art.


Cathy is showing part of her sticker collection, including additional stickers from the Hatch Kingdom, in Montréal at an amazing gallery (Fresh Paint/Peint Frais) that focuses on street art, graffiti, and other urban endeavors.  More details to come, but I thought I should post some photographs of the installation.



Amy Hauber’s sculpture class has been creating oversized bird forms from the templates that Inga and Andy provided as part of the ELEMENTALS Birds project. Yesterday, the students presented their work on the SLU quad and around campus.  The snow only showed up later in the afternoon, thankfully!

More photos and information can be found on the SLU ELEMENTALS Birds page on Facebook.  Thanks to Peter Quigley for taking such great photographs.






Please join us on Thursday evening for a gallery discussion with visiting artists Inga and Andy  Hamilton.

More information about and photographs of  the ELEMENTALS Birds project can be found on the ELEMENTALS at SLU FB page.

Gong meditation and relaxation for creativity with Gurumantra Kaur
Tuesday, November 8, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Richard F. Brush Art Gallery

Gurumantra Kaur is a certified Kundalini Research Institute yoga instructor, registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance, member of International Kundalini Yoga Teachers Association, 3H0, and international associate of Yoga Therapists.  She specializes in gong meditation and relaxation, addiction therapy, mental health awareness, fertility susceptibility, fitness for senior citizens, and meditational classes from beginners to advanced.

Gurumantra Kaur (center) with friends

This vegan yogi expands conscious thought about body awareness, mental health, and healing with sound currents.  She uses kundalini yoga as a way to exercise the mind, body, and spirit—a technique which enables one to reach a higher state of awareness, emotional stability, and strength by using several techniques, including pranayama, kriyas, meditation, bhandas, mudras, mantras, and visualization.

For more information visit

Meditation and gong relaxation with Gurumantra Kaur is presented in conjunction with the ELEMENTALS Birds exhibition on display through December 10, 2011, with Inga and Andy Hamilton, artists from Northern Ireland, in residence through Thursday, November 10.  ELEMENTALS Birds is an experiment to see if artists, printmakers, and craftspeople can physically embody feelings of peace, harmony, and goodwill in their artwork and tangibly affect the space around them.

This event is free and open to the public.  Bring a cushion or mat if you have one.  Please share this information with students and friends!



“ELEMENTALS Birds” is a very special experiment to see if artists, printmakers, and craftspeople can physically embody feelings of peace, harmony, and goodwill in their artwork and tangibly affect the environment in which it is shown.  By definition, elementals traditionally are thoughts that once created become attached to their creator and are fed by further thoughts and actions.  They’re often referred to as an air of positivity or negativity; confidence or lack thereof; peace or disharmony.

Inga and Andy Hamilton will be on campus for three weeks to create site-specific installations at the gallery that unfold over time and flow with good intention to all those who encounter their work.  The artists also invite students, faculty, staff, and community members to create their own elemental birds to be placed around campus and town.

Come see what happens when artists (and you!) are given permission to explore new avenues in unexpected and magical ways.  You can chat with the all of the participating artists on Facebook and see pix of their work by searching for Elementals Birds.

Artists’ Bios
Installation artist Inga Hamilton works in the Venn diagram intersection where craft, art, science, mathematics, and activism meet.  Her textiles are currently showing in Dubh, dialogues in black, at the American Irish Historical Society in New York City, a showcase of leading artists and craftspeople from Ireland and the United States.

You’re just as likely to find the work of printmaker, digital illustrator, and urban artist Andy Hamilton (a.k.a. MyTarPit) hanging in the likes of Nintendo’s head office, slid amongst the volumes in a bookstore, or pinned to the back of a stop sign.  His obsession with mark-making and character design spurs him on to develop groundbreaking print techniques with an old-school twist.

Known equally for their guerrilla art activities and gallery installations, Inga and Andy have presented their work throughout the United States and Europe in exhibitions, public art projects, live paints, workshops, and residencies.

Please join us!  Inga and Andy have created templates so that everyone can contribute to the project.

fat bottomed owl elemental 01
fat bottomed owl elemental 02

joe crow elemental 1
joe crow elemental 2

squirch elemental 1

yaffle elemental 1
yaffle elemental 2
yaffle elemental 3


This morning, I worked with about 10 students to bind journals using a simple Japanese stab binding.  The workshop was a benefit for  Literacy for Nepal, a group created by two SLU students to support education in rural Nepal.

We met in the Sullivan Student Center and finished our journals in just under an hour, which must be something of a record!

I forgot to bring my camera, so these photos are from my phone and not exactly the best quality.

Artist's Talk

In conjunction with the Re-framing Terrorism exhibition, artist Wafaa Bilal will give a lecture in Griffiths 123 on Thursday, October 6, at 7:00 p.m.

More information about Bilal can be found at

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