The Gift Prolific is an evolving gifting and art project created by me, Joshua Coffy. Initially (2011-2012) it was a project of daily gifting and painting. The basics of the first year of the project are listed below:
- Give a gift to someone, everyday, for a year.
- Make a small painting inspired by each gift.
- Show the paintings in a gallery at the Burning Man Arts Festival in 2012.
- Gift away each painting at the event.
I believe our lives can be greatly improved by our humanity and compassion. Giving helps me to stay present and connected to people around me. Gifts given are immediately gifts received. It is simple….Giving makes you feel good. I hope this project encourages you to give something….everyday. Giving, even the smallest gifts, daily has really changed my life.
I am an artist and regular attendee at the yearly Burning Man Arts Festival in the Nevada desert. The event is a mix of gift culture (nothing except coffee and ice are for sale there) and mind-blowing art….and it is all based on giving. Attendees are asked and encouraged to participate. In 2008 I had the honor of making a large mural on the Center Camp Cafe art wall. In 2009 I took 5 paintings to the event and gifted them all away. This was the spark that began this project. I really enjoyed meeting the people who liked my artwork…I got an even bigger rush when somewhere in the conversation I would say “If you like it that much you should take it home with you….” and watching their reaction. This experience really started me thinking about gifting…and my own artwork. I have come to believe that giving a gift is really about a shared experience. And that is what makes it so great.
So, to honor my experiences with gifting, making art, and giving it away I have come up with ‘The Gift Prolific’. A huge undertaking….to give a gift away each day. Then make a painting about that gift. And finally give them all away at Burning Man. Thank you for reading this….and hopefully you will go out and give today. Take care.
In 2013 the project’s initial gallery was over and I searched for new ways to give and make art. One of the things I came up with was the ‘February Marathon’ where I would give a gift each day and make a painting each day. Instead of giving them away I posted each painting and it’s story here on the blog and marked them ‘FOR SALE’. They were each offered at a discounted rate from my other art. It was an experiment making affordable art for people as well as making my ends meet. It was a super success and I hope to do it again. I also did a few community art projects and small random posts about gifting.
Gift Prolific 2014!
This year I was asked by Lady Bee, my friend and art curator for the Burning Man office in San Francisco, if I had a few paintings that I could loan to the new office. I really didn’t and told her that I would make some. And then it hit me….This would be my chance to reactivate the Gift Prolific. I took one large canvas and painted 52 small paintings on it. Each of these paintings will represent a week’s worth of giving that I will do this year. I will post once or twice a week about my gifting…and post a vignette from this larger masterwork to illustrate and hopefully inspire people to chase their own projects and dreams. I will also be doing the daily Feb. Marathon again this year. So stay tuned! Take care.