Thursday, October 13, noon to 1 pm • free

I See Art Every Day

About the Book

When you go for a walk with an artist, sometimes unexpected things happen.
Dandelions turn into dog paws, faucets become feathers, and traffic cones transform into dragonfly wings.

Illustrated with photos and photo assemblages, artist Becka Rahn takes you on a walk around the neighborhood looking for art in everyday objects. The simple story encourages readers to look closely at the pictures because things aren’t always what they seem.

About the Art

“The art for the “I Spy” utility boxes was created part of a grant from the Prospect Park neighborhood association in Minneapolis, MN. They applied to participate in a city program where artists create designs to cover mechanical utility boxes in public places. I submitted a proposal to take photographs from the neighborhood and create designs using those photos.

I spent several afternoons walking and capturing over 500 photos of everyday objects throughout the neighborhood. I took photos in the community garden, at the light rail station, and inside businesses that border the neighborhood. I picked up forgotten objects like keys, a toy dinosaur and a lucky penny. I looked for shapes, numbers, and landmarks that were unique to the neighborhood. I photographed cherries on trees, patio bricks, and dandelions growing through cracks in the sidewalk.

Originally, I thought I would make only abstract patterns, like the kids of repeating patterns I often use to design fabric, but as I started looking at the photos I realized it would be really fun to make everyday objects you might see in the neighborhood out of other everyday objects. So, I started by making a bluejay from my photos of yarn, faucet handles, wheels, a latte, and a telephone dial.

If you look closely, you will see that every object and character is made up of smaller photos of other everyday things. Even the background textures come from found objects in the neighborhood; one is made from a scrunched styrofoam cup, another uses the brick from Pratt School and the painted wood on a charity donation box.

In June 2016, utility box wraps featuring this art were installed on three pairs of boxes on University Ave, where you can see them as public art every day. On each box are thumbnails of the original photos so that you can play an “I Spy” game by searching for those objects as part of the art and looking for them throughout the neighborhood.

Special thanks to the Prospect Park Association, with funding from the University of Minnesota Good Neighbor Fund and MN Vikings Partnership Fund, that made the original artwork possible. Also thanks to the Prospect Park community with your beautiful neighborhood gardens and architecture. You might have thought I was crazy when you saw me photographing my own feet but you were too nice to say so.” -Becka Rahn

About Becka Rahn

Becka Rahn is an artist and digital fabric designer. She is the co-author of The Spoonflower Handbook (published through Abrams Books), a how-to guide to designing your own fabric and other surfaces using digital design tools.

Becka is active in the local art and craft community in Minneapolis, MN. She received a 2015 Jerome Emerging Fiber Artists grant and participated in the American Craft Council’s Hip Pop emerging artists program. In 2016, she was awarded an Artist Initiative Grant from the MN State Arts Board to partner with local museums to create fabric designs using “forgotten pieces” from the museum collections as inspiration. Becka was appointed to the Etsy Sellers Advisory Board for 2016, where she represents niche craft business owners. Previously, Becka worked as the manager of education at Textile Center where she supervised and designed curriculum, and taught classes for youth and adults for more than 11 years.

Books will be available for purchase.