You walk into a place and someone takes a Polaroid of you. You write down your name, your Instagram handle, and your hidden talent down on a card. Then you pick an envelope out of a drawer and inside it is a Polaroid of a stranger along with the same card you filled out, but with their information. Polaroid in hand, you head to an art table fully stocked with everything you could need markers, pencils, crayons, scissors and you start drawing the stranger. When you finish up, your art and the polaroid are displayed together on a wall amongst dozens of other portraits. Eventually, you will come back and see that someone else has drawn you and placed your portrait in the gallery.
This was the basis of “Strangers Drawing Strangers,” an interactive art installation held by Airbnb and Ivan Cash. The idea sprung from another project by Cash called “Selfless Portraits”, in which he invites strangers from around the world to draw each others facebook profile pictures and exchange them online.
In the video you see art ranging from childish drawings in crayon (drawn by an actual toddler) to beautifully detailed illustrations by practiced artists. I love the ones that added extra flourishes to their portraits, little details that weren’t in the polaroid such as putting the person in a funny pose or adding in a prop (like the guy with the microphone). If you’ve ever been to a big film festival you know how hectic the schedule is, with non-stop screenings and events being held at the same time across many locations. The fact that the event took place at this years Sundance Film Festival gives a special connotation to the portraits because it adds the implication that a stranger paused what they were doing, possibly re-arranged their schedule a bit, just so they could take the time to draw you.