Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Art Environments

Hello everyone! My name is Katie Bush and I am excited to be given the opportunity to be a guest blogger for SHAMc's awesome blog. I  recently wrote and illustrated a book called 1206 Third Street- it's about Todd and Kiaralinda, SHAMc's founders.  I am an art museum educator, art blogger, and artist and I love to visit art environments around the world. 

So, before I begin telling you about some really cool art environments, you might be wondering... what IS an art environment?

An art environment is a piece of property that has been transformed in some way. For example, Todd and Kiaralinda created Whimzey Land. It has been an ongoing project for over two decades, one that has resulted in an art environment that people travel from all over the world to visit! Take a look for yourself:

The Whimzey house in all of its teal glory!

Todd and Kiaralinda in front of their lovely home

The "Florida Orange Tree"
A lot of the materials they use are repurposed, like this bicycle wheel!

Whimzey Land images via The Daily Telecraft

Art environments are literally everywhere all over the world. There is no one type of art environment because each space is as unique as the people who make it. There are also many reasons that people create art environments.

I want to share with you some really fun art environments from around the world...

  • Paradise Gardens in Georgia

One of the most famous art environments was created by Howard Finster. It's called Paradise Gardens, and it's located in north west Georgia, USA. Finster was a minister who created artwork. He created Paradise Gardens to emulate his idea of the Garden of Eden, and to be used as a chapel. He spent years creating the space, which he decorated with his favorite artworks. According to the Paradise Garden Foundation website,

"Paradise Garden Located in Summerville, Georgia, is a maze of buildings, sculptures and displays. The Gardens were built from found objects and recycled materials ranging from bottles, bathtubs and toilets to bicycle frames and cast-off jewelry. The setting is a four-acre swampland that is drained by numerous canals."

Paradise Gardens images via Creative Loafing Atlanta

  • Watts Towers in California

If you've ever been to Los Angeles, I'm sure you've heard of Watts Towers. The towers were created over 30+ years by Simon Rodia, an immigrant who worked at the Malibu tile factory. He would bring pieces of unusable tiles back home and mosiac them into the towers. He even lived in a cottage attached to the towers for years. The pressure from his neighbors' distaste of his art made him leave and never come back. They are now a national landmark and one of the most recognizable structures in the world.

Images via The Daily Telecraft

  • The Palais Idéal in France

Over in France is the Palais Idéal, created by a French postman named Cheval. On his daily run, he would pick up fragments of rock. Over the course of many decades, he fashioned his "ideal palace" using concrete and the rocks that he collected.

Images via The Daily Telecraft
Here are some other art environments, but without all of the fun background information:

Salvation Mountain in Niland, CA
image via BadBirds

The Bone Zone in Madrid, New Mexico

Kapaleeshwarar Temple in Channai, India

The Heidelberg Project in Detroit, MI
image via BlueWolves

Solomon's Castle in Ona, FL

The Rhinestone Cowboy House, now located at the JMK Arts Center in WI
image via AtlasObscura

The Cathedral of Junk in Austin, TX
image via NarrowLarry

The Magic Garden in Philadelphia, PA
image via Modenus

Thanks for reading! Peace, love, and art! -Katie Bush

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