Monday, May 3, 2010

The Spore Project - Doug Rhodehamel

On May 1st, Doug Rhodehamel's "Spore Project" began. Doug is asking people from all around the world to create paper bag mushrooms and plant them around their communities. He wants people to send in photos of their creations along with a name, location and number of mushrooms made. I had been trying to catch a sketch of Doug at work and finally got my chance when I found myself at a booth space right next to him at the Outsider Art Fair at Frames Forever and Art Gallery in Winter Park. Doug sat creating mushrooms at a fast and steady pace. As he worked, he explained to me the premise behind the Spore Project. Doug feels that the project will help promote awareness for the support for art education and creativity in day to day life. The project promotes self expression, resourcefulness and creativity by pointing out how a simple everyday item like a paper bag can be turned into something new and unexpected.
As Doug said, "Art is essential: it promotes intelligence and creativity, and it’s a great expressive outlet that inspires people toward new perspectives on life, which we all need and need frequently. Creativity is needed in every aspect of life. It teaches us to think differently and allows us to consider other options.The idea behind the paper bag mushroom grew innocently out of lunch in high school. While sitting around waiting for the meal break to end, I squished my lunch bag into a mushroom and gave it to my friend. this became a daily routine. years later I figured out a way to stick them in the ground. I then began placing them in my friends’ lawns while they were at work. it was meant as a joke, but other people loved them and asked me to cover their yards with mushrooms as well. I began making hundreds, then thousands. I did them for festivals, art shows, parties and just for fun. I began getting calls from teachers asking if I could come show their classrooms the art of making paper bag mushrooms. even companies and corporations began to get involved. this is where the SPORE Project began."
So spread the word and go make some mushrooms. It's easy and fun.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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