Clothespin art around Omaha
October 15, 2019
“Life is funner than most of us make it,” secret artist “TM” said. Clothespin art may have been noticed by the people of Omaha on telephone poles all over town. They are watercolor artworks featuring large clothespins created and hung by mystery artist TM.
The art is used as a way to take use of the public space citizens have to display what they choose. “Anywhere there is a fence, a billboard, a surveillance camera, a company, etc. These are not public spaces. I like spaces where I feel like I belong,” the artist explained. The installation was a way to show people art in an environment that was completely theirs. There was no cost to put the art there or for it to be viewed.
According to the artist, the clothespin project really was one for the people. The artist explained that the clothespin is “a homage to my grandmother and mother, both of whom spent thousands of their hours in their lifetimes working with that tool.” It is paying tribute to all the people who are doing what is traditionally considered the work of the woman.
The artist explained that this project was using the best part of their job: the total freedom to do whatever they think artistically prudent or important. They were able to share that, in a way, most art is never presented.
The artist had hung over 150 of the clothespin images on wooden poles throughout the city. A World Herald writer and her daughter then began to take them down and collect them. Another writer for the newspaper wrote an article about their collection of the pieces.
The artist says that they don’t care too much about the fact they had been removed because once you put something so public out into the world like that, you lose all control over what other people do. They explained that they understood that the person who took them down thought they were preserving them from the elements and not ending a public art installation.
After the article had been published, the clothespin project had to be done for. When the artist would replace the ones removed, someone would immediately take them down.
“Fascinating though to see that people by and large left the images alone for all those months,” said TM, “Then within a day they were gone.”
The artist shared that their advice for young artists, or anyone in general, is to do anything. “Fortune favors those who do things. Make a project. Journalism project, public art project, tiny plastic jewelry with cherubs eating McDonald’s fries project, just anything. Grab a friend and share the work. Document it.”