Art Around Every Corner

By Lindsay Gibb

For 10 years Buffalo zinester and artist, Christopher Fritton, has been hiding art and sending friends to find it. Now, he’s attempting to bring this concept to the world.

“A friend and I used to hide poems, found objects and other things in library books, then give each other the call number,” says Fritton. “We’d never know what might be in the book, so it was always a surprise.”

Never losing his love for these scavenger hunts, Fritton has just launched “i hid art,” a website that encourages readers to hide their own art or go find hidden gems in their backyards. Launched in September 2010, after only a week online the site already had 23 posts of hidden and found art in Buffalo, Rochester and Toronto. While Fritton is currently responsible for about 50% of the hidings and findings on the site, he has a wish list of cities he’d like to bring on board that includes Austin, Texas; Paris, France and Seoul, Korea.

Bearing a slight resemblance to Geocaching (a phenomena that sees people use GPS to search for hidden objects), i hid art uses photos and descriptions to explain where pieces are hidden or where they’ve been found. Fritton feels his project differs from geocaching in both its content and demographics. “Geocaching treasures aren’t always (if ever) art, per se, and Geocachers aren’t normally the 15 to 35 craftaholic, artsy DIY kids that i hid art is aimed toward.”

The reason he chose to encourage this delivery method for art objects is he feels it will not only promote creativity but also make people look at their surroundings differently. “Everything becomes more intimate, more vivid, more full of potential. Every place you see becomes a place that could hold a secret that you can discover and hold in your hands,” he says.

“One of my friends said it best when she told me: ‘I understand what you’re trying to do… you’re not just suggesting people go hide things and find things. What you’re trying to do is create a subculture of hiding and finding, something that becomes integrated into people’s way of thinking about their art, and their mode of distribution. And that’s hard.’ She’s right. It’s hard.”

To take part in i hid art visit ihidart.com or ihidart.tumblr.com

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