Despite telling us he'd love to take this project to other cities, we're going to file this in the "only in Boulder" category.
For the last couple weeks, Andrew Kurcan (a Denverite) has been hanging photography all over Boulder with signs that read "Please steal". A $1,000 grant from the Boulder Awesome Foundation ensures every piece (there are 40 pieces) is enclosed and matted in a frame, then mounted on buildings, fences, etc. in a 'non-damaging' fashion.
Kurcan took a minute out of his day to tell us about the project.
How did you come up with the idea?
I came up with the idea from years of living in different cities across the states, and being exposed to many different types of street art and graffiti. I often wondered what would happen if I tried to take the same approach with traditionally presented fine art photography. The idea of a non-restrictive exhibition was quite alluring. Really it was one of those "why not?" moments.
In what other cities would you consider putting up photo graffiti?
I wish I would have been able to do this in every city I've lived in or spent any measurable amount of time in. I gain so much inspiration from the places I go, it feels wonderful to not only give back, but (hopefully) add to the sources of inspiration.
What makes boulder "awesome"? (Other than the Awesome Foundation..)
Boulder is an amazing city full of amazing creative people (who are awesome). It's a funky mix of personalities, stories, and experiences. I've never really found another place like it throughout my travels. When the Boulder chapter of the Awesome Foundation approached me wanting to fund my project bid, I couldn't even think of saying no!
Have any property owners, public officials, rival street gangs, etc. contacted you expressing anger/encouragement?
I've gotten a lot of feedback already, and getting more each day. Most of it is very encouraging... one person actually asked for me to hang another in place of one that they liked, but was taken. Of course there has been a little negative feedback, stating that they view it as littering, etc... but any art polarizes - you have to expect that going into any public project. I was caught in the act hanging quite a few pieces, and those interactions were wonderful... full of genuinely interested questions.
As for rival gangs... I'm not aware of many clandestine art hanging street gangs floating around these parts... in retrospect I would have enjoyed a West Side Story-esque encounter. In all seriousness though, all of my past interactions as a photographer with real taggers and street artists (of the gang and non gang variety), have been great.
The only other thing I can add, is that Boulder was wonderfully accepting to my crazy idea, and I thank the people and city of Boulder for that. And, of course, The Awesome Foundation, to help make it all possible!
You'll notice the date on the tags are off by a year... a misprint on my part. I was going to reprint them, but decided that it was actually more in the spirit of the project to allow the populous to completely control how long the pieces stay up.
PHOTOS of Kurcan's Boulder Photo Graffiti Project: