Ah, September. Everything kicks back into gear in September, including interviews with rocking guerilla artists. Hurray!
These interviews have made for a super fun project: It’s been amazing to pick the brains of so many rad. artists-both to learn about their inspiration and share their stories and funky fresh art work. So good! I definitely encourage you to take a peek through the archives to get turned on to their various types of yarn, rock and plastic art but not before you read all about Googlyness.
Googlyness is based in Peterborough, Ontario and is a major lover of googly eyes! You’re going to love her style, it’s really simple, clean and smile inducing. I’m certain the extent of her ‘googlyness’ will surprise you too, so read on!
Tell us about yourself, your art and how you got into this form of guerrilla art.
I’ve been a maker of things my whole life. I love creating. As a goofy person, I’ve also long been a lover of googly eyes. One winter’s day on a whim, I just decided to start eyeing things. It was only a few days later when I started Googlyness on Instagram.
I am a silly & weird person. When I see a fabulous face in the wild, I want to share it with the world. Happiness begets happiness, and all that. Knowing that something that brought me great joy is also bringing joy to the viewer, is kind of magical. It has been wonderful to share my pieces with people who have a similar bent.
What is your process?
I like going out just before dawn, when the world is more quiet and there is less of a chance that I’ll be caught. When caught I will readily confess, but I prefer to move within the shadows, where the faces I uncover live. I will commit Googlyness at any time of day or night. It is nice being able to lose myself in creativity when I’m not looking over my shoulder.
When I get busted, it’s usually by someone whose job it is to care for the property. They are usually concerned something is wrong and they worry that I am taking photographs for their head office. I try to have my Instagram page loaded up so that I can show them that I’m working on an art project. I’ll point out why/how I see the current piece and let them look at some of the shots I have taken of that area. I assure them that I’m only looking to make smiles. I usually get a smile in return and then I’m encouraged to carry on. I feel very lucky that my community is so supportive.
I prefer self adhesive googly eyes, for convenience sake. I also use double sided tape to affix some of my other eyes. The added benefit to using the self adhesive type is that when the eyes finally wear off, their circular eyeprints are still suggestive.
I’m a googly eye purist. I like plain googly eyes, without any colour or added detail. I use eyes that are the same size 99% of the time. I have experimented a bit with coloured eyes, and occasionally incorporate non-googly eyes into some of my pieces. No matter, whether I’m creating with my fancy schmancy eyes or googly eyes, I want them to be as simple and as visually striking as possible. I want my googly eyes to stare directly into the viewer’s eyes, and stir one’s soul.
If i see a face that i don’t have the right supplies for, I make a mental note to return later when I have suitable eyes. however, 95% percent of my faces are created on the spot. It’s very much a lovely, frenzied improvisation. The very fleeting nature of the art also intrigues me. I do not compose anything at the site. Everything is as I have found it; I only add eyes. The only exceptions to this might be in moving a branch out of the way, or nudging something to capture the photograph.
Were you inspired by other googly-artists? Are there others?
Before I started embracing the googlyness, I had seen some great googly eyes pictures on Facebook, but I hadn’t really immersed myself in it. I was a complete noob to both the googly world and Instagram the day I began my Instagram account. Only after I made my first post and starting looking around did I see how many other googly artists there were around the world. I didn’t expect to be the only googly artist, but I was thrilled to see so many talented and creative artists. I must have likebombed a gazillion posts that first day. I was enchanted and amazed by all of them; I still am!
In the beginning my inspiration was boredom and a burning need to create. But the more time I spent on Instagram, the more I was inspired by other eyebombers and pareidoliacs. I love seeing how others interpret a very similar object or scene. People are kind of amazing that way.
Where have you installed?
I’ve done pieces everywhere I think I can get away with it – from an old jail that was turned into a park, to fast food bathrooms to places of business. If there is a personality hidden somewhere, I’ll try to tease it out and share it.
Any project really stand out for you?
I have some personal favourites. They are as opposite in feeling/place as one could imagine, but the faces will forever be stuck in my mind.
What lessons has this hobby brought you?
It often amazes how different the same brick wall can look in different light, at different times of day and in different weather. It really reinforces for me how taking a second look at something can be enriching. Taking one’s time with something is it’s own reward. As someone who fights with my Type A personality, this constantly reinforces the need for me to take time to smell the roses. I never regret it.
Any advice for an aspiring guerrilla artist?
I think guerrilla art is essential in this day and age. It feels like the more buildings and streets are made to be uber uniform, the more art needs to be made in order to interrupt this. Guerrilla art is what makes a place unique. One can gather a good sense of a place by what art is encouraged. Even more telling of a community than the encouraged, is the type of art that is tacitly tolerated in the collective arena. I am constantly amazed by the ingenuity of guerrilla artists around the world.
I try to be as respectful as possible when I create. I try not to adhere and leave eyes on surfaces that could easily be marred, or to surfaces where they will be instant garbage or at risk of being consumed. I’m sure I have made some errors in judgement in my beginnings, but my goal is to bring levity with my art, not frustration for the recipient.
What has been the response to your work?
When I started, I was hoping for a few giggles from like-minded people. I have totally blown away by the level of support I have received from my local and Instagram communities. I feel safe in taking creative chances because I know that I have their backing. We have a very rich art community in Peterborough, and knowing that my work is going to be appreciated by passersby always feels great.
Do you have an installation dream or goal?
I have a couple of ideas for a large scale installations, I just need to get all my ducks in a row to make it happen. Keep an eye out for more shenanigans!
Do you carry googly eyes everywhere you go?
Yes! I always, *always* have googly eyes with me! In my bag I currently have 7 different sizes of googly eyes. I also have an assortment of more realistic glass eyes, and some smaller doll eyes for when the mood strikes for something different. I usually do a googly eye version for each piece, even if my plan is to feature the piece with the more unique eyes.
A lot of pieces I create are for the passerby, and not the viewer of a photograph. (I don’t post photographs of everything I do.This means I need a seemingly unending supply of googly eyes. Currently I have about 150 pairs of eyes packed and ready to make faces happen.
Their visages await me.
I am loving this interview series! Its so cool to plug into the diversity of guerilla art worldwide, and extra cool to hear from a fellow Canuck! Thanks so much Googlyness for shining your light and taking the time to share it with us. You can keep up with her googlyness on Instagram so head over there and follow her.
Be sure to comment below to say hey, with your favourite Googly or to let me know if you have suggestions for future interviewees. I have more interviews lined up too so, so stay tuned!