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Why "Regular" artworks can also be "Cube Grenades"

by Clint Watson on 5/19/2009 9:31:19 AM

This Post is by Clint Watsonfounder of FineArtViews. Follow Clint on Twitter.

Not long ago, Hugh posted on his blog an article explaining the concept of what he has dubbed "Cube Grenades" and why he considers the concept integral to the work he does.  The idea of a "Cube Grenade," in the context of Hugh's work, is that people can print out his cartoons on their own printers and post them in their "cubes" (possibly, but not necessarily a literal cubicle).  He wrote about this concept, saying:

This, I believe, is where my cartoons work the best- "Cube Grenades"- small objects that you "throw" in there in order to cause some damage- to start a conversation, to spread an idea etc. - Hugh MacLeod

After Hugh posted this to his blog, a lot of us then started talking about the concept over on Twitter.  Some people seemed to take the position that the "Cube Grenade" concept, while fine for cartoons, may not apply to other types of art.

I contend that all artworks can and should be "Cube Grenades."

What do I mean?

Consider that Hugh says Cube Grenades "cause damage", "start conversations", or "spread ideas", it's evident, if you pay attention to what Hugh is saying, that Cube Grenades "shake things up" and make the world a better place. Cube Grenades change the world

Cube grenades damage the "status quo" and make people think

With that in mind what does it mean when I take a step back from the daily grind and lose myself in my favorite Kevin Macpherson painting?  You know, the one of France that takes me back to the days my wife and I spent in Europe?  The one that makes me resolve to make another European trip?  The one that makes me realize I could go live and work in Europe for a few months if I had the guts?  You know, the one that makes me think about how to make my life better?  That's a form of "Cube Grenade."

Or what about the painting of Laguna Beach by Jim Wodark that I've got in my office?  The one that people constantly ask, "who is that artist?"  And then we start talking about different artists whose works make our lives better and those artists become social objects of our discussion.  Or maybe we discover that we've both been to Laguna Beach and Laguna Beach itself actually becomes the social object.  That painting is also a "Cube Grenade."

Or back in my gallery days, what about the customers who would call me to purchase a painting after having printed out the image from our website?  After having their lives improved for weeks by staring at a low-quality inkjet printer quality version of an original painting which has led them to decide that "upgrading" to the "real thing" (the original) would make their lives ever-so-much-better?  You know, that's a form of Cube Grenade too (and awfully close to what Hugh is doing with his cartoons).

In short, if your artwork, whether as an original or a reproduction, changes someone's life then it has started to change the world....and that makes it a "Cube Grenade."  (Even if you don't actually work in a cubicle).

Now, go change the world.


Clint Watson
Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic


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Is Your Art Making a Difference?

Topics: Art Business | Art Collecting | art marketing | Hugh MacLeod | Inspiration 

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 1 Comment

Lisa Call
via web
This is my cube:

Or at least that was my cube in 2005.

Included 2 gapingvoid cartoons (sheep/wolf and mistakenly). They got significantly more attention than the rest of the stuff in the cube.

Now I have less kid art and more art-art in my cube (no more gapingvoid cartoons either).

My experience - art doesn't generate buzz in the cubes. Cartoons generate buzz in the cubes.

Although I do hand out postcards of my art to my coworkers and many of them have them in their cubes, which is pretty cool.


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