Smoking Balloons

balloon 2

In a Sunday morning session at the writer’s conference I attended this past weekend, my eyes wandered the room and fell on something under the chair in front of me. It nearly blended in with the hotel conference room carpet (all greens and gold-browns and reds, as it seems they always are), but whatever it was stood out enough to make me curious.

I bent down to investigate and found a small painted square. A picture of a balloon, smoking a pipe (as balloons do, naturally). Suddenly I remembered seeing something on the conference twitter feed about this so I scrolled through until I found this:

And then I got really excited. I had found a tiny abandoned piece of original art! That’s the coolest thing ever! Except, what was I supposed to do with it? Take a picture and leave it? Take it? Take it and then leave it somewhere else? What were the rules for rogue art on a Scrabble tile under a conference chair? (It was the F tile, in case you’re curious. Worth four points, clutch in the triple play.)

I instinctively looked around to see if anyone was watching, if anyone else had seen it. All eyes were focused on the panel of speakers. I picked up my tiny find and slid it in the front pocket of my purse.

The rest of the day when I went into that pocket for lip balm or a mint I would remember my little piece of found art and smile. Which is exactly what good art should do, right? Evoke emotion. Smoke on little balloon, smoke on.

For more information on Phil Hilliker’s Bits o’ Kitsch project click here and follow along on Twitter.

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