I'm happy to announce the most important thing I have ever done with my art to date: It's called The Wayfaring Project, and it's a personal and collaborative mission to, quite simply, do some good.
I've been working on it over the past several days, getting the paintings I made, above, completed and ready to go abroad to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal, and India. They will go in the hands of a friend and fellow artist, wanderer, and old soul, Susanna of the blog GirlMeetsNYC, who will be visiting each of these countries in two weeks in celebration of freedom- freedom to be, travel, do, and explore- that millions of slaves around the world are not granted.
Her goal is to raise $10,000 by August 27 on behalf of the International Justice Mission to fight for the rights and liberation of enslaved people all over the world- so if you can donate anything at all, check out her fundraising page and please do. Even shopping at my etsy site makes a difference: I'm donating 20% of my sales in both June and July to her cause.
When I read on her blog that she was going on this journey, I immediately thought we should somehow collaborate on a project to make her time even more impactful and amazing. We went over some ideas and discovered that we both share a love for the sentiment of giving or leaving personal objects behind when you travel: she told me of a time she visited Portugal and left a novel she had been reading behind in a hostel, so that perhaps another traveler could come by it, enjoy it or be moved by it on own their journey.
I, for as long as I can remember, have always desired to leave kind words or nice things in random places for people to find and be made happy by. When I was a child I used to write short little notes or nice sayings on paper and drop them, say in the street or in the grocery store, and I would get a kick out of knowing that someone would find them, and it would make them smile, and they would have no idea who put these helpful words in their path. So now that I can paint, and that Susanna is going abroad, I thought this would be the perfect chance to basically do the same thing as I've always been doing, except this time for people in less fortunate environments who could perhaps use even more hope and inspiration than those who grew up comfortably and fortunately like myself.
So Susanna will leave each one of my paintings somewhere, arbitrarily, in each country she visits, whenever and however she feels moved to do so. She will be photographing her mission as it happens, taking pictures of the paintings in each country she visits and in each place where she decides to leave them behind.
I love the idea of sending things off into the world, without knowing where they will end up- or even if they will be rediscovered by anyone at all- but with the awareness that they will always be somehow connected to me. The idea that I can do so little and leave a potentially enormous impact on the life of one other person who I will never even meet. The idea that I can give without money or fortune even more than I can with them. The idea that every human being is granted the same chance to touch the lives of all the other ones, and there's nothing you can do that's too small because every attempt at a good deed really, really matters.
They say that your talent is the universe's gift to you, and what you do with it is your gift back to the universe. And we really do all have something great to offer- we only need to discover what it is. Over the next few months Susanna and I will both be sharing the evolution of this project, and we invite you to stay tuned and inspired.