People to Watch 2012: Artist Stephanie Rond

  • Photo by Tessa Berg
From the August 9, 2012 edition

Usually when a wall is tagged with graffiti, it’s a man’s doing. Enough of that, decided feminist artist Stephanie Rond. She took to the streets.

“I was just interested in the challenge of doing something that was so male dominated, and I also like the idea of art as a non-product,” Rond said. “I like challenging what we think of as art. Just because art is in a free environment, does that make it less of art?”

Rond — a luminary within Columbus’ vibrant visual arts community — asks permission before pasting up spray-painted paper depicting children, flowers or, recently, a pink mermaid on top of a mountain of gifts.

She calls her outdoor art “street gifts,” and she embraces the idea of the gift economy — giving to other people so that you can feel rewarded. For new project “Presents,” she paints presents onto small wooden blocks. She hands them out at her exhibit openings, encouraging recipients to take photos of them in creative places and submit them to her website.

“The idea is just take a piece of free art, something you didn’t have to pay for, and put it in an environment that either you love or you think is creative and give it back,” she explained. “It’s the idea of slow down and think about your environment and appreciate where you are and what you have, and that we’re humans and not consumer byproducts of marketing.”

Last year Rond invented a very different way for others to be creative: She founded a dollhouse art gallery called S.Dot, which sits in her dining room and hosts monthly exhibitions of tiny works by local artists.

Rond recently debuted Rigsby Contemporary Museum in a second dollhouse — a Kaleidoscope House donated by Kent and Tasi Rigsby. And a third small-scale exhibition space, Painted Lady Feminist Museum, will debut in December at Ray’s Living Room as part of CAW’s small works show.

“It’s the idea of, ‘Let’s all just slow down and have some fun,’” Rond said of her growing collection of miniatures.

Networker: Erin Corrigan >>