Bits o’ Kitsch


Today marks the beginning of a fun project that I’m calling “Bits o’ Kitsch”. I’ve recently completed fifty tiny paintings on Scrabble tiles. Forty-nine of the images include motivational sayings or ridiculous subject matter currently having a heyday in pop culture (robots, mustaches, and the like.) Because not every moment of life is rabbits shooting lasers from their eyes and lollipops, one image is a reminder that we are all mortal and death is inescapable.

I’m going to abandon these paintings around Richmond, Virginia over the next few weeks for people to serendipitously discover. They will show up in restaurants, parks, libraries, park benches, and wherever I find myself as I live my life.

I will have no contact with the recipient and won’t have any idea how the interaction completes itself. Alternately, the recipient will most likely* have no idea where the tiny painting came from, what it’s intended for, or, perhaps, if they should even take it. Through the paintings, the recipient and I will have a small moment of unknowable contact.

Hopefully, it will simply make them smile. Well, forty-nine will hopefully smile. I’m not sure what that fiftieth, reminder-of-death person will think. Maybe they’ll smile, too. Or I’ll have accidentally ruined their day.

But since I won’t know where these paintings will ultimately end up, I’m fully prepared for and expect some of them to be lost, thrown away, or find some obstruction that prevents them from fulfilling their intended purpose.

The mystery will kill me but it’s also kind of the point. I wonder on my end what happened to them, the recipient wonders on their end where they came from. Mysterious, unexpected interactions can have a big impact. For some random Richmonders, I’m hoping to just induce some smiles or remind them of their eventual demise.

I’ll be documenting this whole thing as we go along here on my blog, my twitter account, and my Facebook page. So if you’d like to follow along, there are three places to do so. When they are all distributed, I’ll post a grid featuring each piece.

So… here we go!

*Yup, I’m using a footnote. I say “most likely” because there is the chance that someone who reads this blogpost could find one. But I am under no grand illusions about the number of readers I have on this thing and fully expect that 100% of the people who find these pantings will have no idea where they came from.

4 Responses to “Bits o’ Kitsch”

  1. Smoking Balloons | Mary Chris Escobar Says:

    […] more information on Phil Hilliker’s Bits o’ Kitsch project click here and follow along on […]

  2. Kim Drew Wright Says:

    I am digging it. I want to find one! I’m a member of JRW…so maybe if I run into you at one of their events, I’ll shake it out of you. 😉 Too cute an idea. Love the paintings.

  3. Kim Drew Wright Says:

    Jeez…I just saw the year on this. Dang. Lol…I guess the tiles are all dispersed. 😉

  4. Sherren Pulcher Says:

    I just love, love, love these tiny paintings. They are like little treasures. I do small paintings myself, but I was not sure if others appreciated works of a smaller scale. Keep up the good work

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