Sheep Art

The herd will follow the shepherd

An interesting thing to consider in OpenStudio is that some of its members are not a person in the physical sense. Every OpenStudio member can play the roles of artist, collector, curator, critic, dealer and fanboy, and the same person can be multiple members, or the same single member can be shared by a group of people. Some of OpenStudio’s members don’t actually seem to represent anybody. I think Edna, for example, must have been created by Annie to play a test role in the system’s early stages of development. Edna shows no trace of activity. No art, no trade, no tags. And yet, out of the 1028 current members of OpenStudio, she owns more drawings than anyone else, 1844 total. Did she make all of them? Are they all sitting in her private inventory? Does she not need to share, show, sell? Would her art be interesting? The next bigger collector after Edna owns 299 drawings, far less than 1844. I only own 182, and it took me months of drawing, giving away and trading to get to that point. Only 161 OpenStudio members own more than 10 drawings, and two thirds of them own at most 3. Edna can’t be real. She’d better not be real.

Until now, physical and virtual reality have been conceived as separate places. Things don’t have a presence in both places at the same time. Or that is what we think. Walking down to South Station as I do every morning, looking at the red brick old buildings and the graffiti, I recently noticed a street art theme that somehow seemed very familiar to me: sheep. There were graffiti sheep tags and sheep shaped stickers everywhere around the neighborhood. It took me a while to recall where the familiarity with these sheepish doodles was coming from.

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OpenStudio member The Shepherd has not been active for a while. He never got to sell much back in the day, but he managed to summon a productive force still unparalleled in open studio. The only one that owns more art than the shepherd is Edna, and Edna doesn’t count. The shepherd would ask other people to draw sheep for him, perhaps on a quest to find the universal sheep through visual representation. I wonder if his work found its way out of the virtual limits of OpenStudio to spawn sheep into the unconstrained realm of street art. Is the same shepherd that has not submitted a new sheep to OpenStudio since last spring responsible for the parade of spray-painted wool in Fort Point, Boston?

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I couldn’t stop myself. I logged on to OpenStudio and bought my own original (flea looking) sheep from The Shepherd himself.

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