In a breath of fresh air, compared to the usual screaming preachers on campus, evangelizing of a very different sort took place Jan. 19 on the library lawn.
Paul Wislotski, a self-proclaimed missionary of art, took to the heavily trafficked spot on campus to invite passersby to draw on a makeshift canvas of a stretched bed sheet with oil pastels. Wislotski says his personal goal is to do a piece at two universities in each state in the country. So far, he’s been to 18 states — though in three of them, he only reached one university, so he plans on returning for another.
“I’ve been doing these art pieces for 21 years,” Wislotski said. “Back in 1999, I hitchhiked to all the state capitals, and I did art pieces in all 50 states.”
The guidelines are simple. Wislotski insists there be no letters, numbers, signs or symbols drawn, including crosses. Though covering another’s art is forbidden, adding to a previous work is highly encouraged. By the end, Wislotski hopes the original sheet color is completely covered.
“I’m trying to get young people to take the idea of collective art and do it for their families,” Wislotski said. “So, when you have that event, that birthday, that anniversary, that holiday, put a sheet out there and say, ‘Come on, family. Let’s have some fun. Let’s grow together. Let’s create an heirloom, so future generations can look back at it.’”
By Wislotski’s estimates, 60,000 people have participated in his collective art pieces so far. Through all those who participated, he hopes to have a snowball effect that will one day influence 60 million people.
Wislotski’s pieces have gained some recognition on campuses recently thanks to Snapchat. At large universities with their own personal live feeds on the app, people have been adding to the local story images of the art they drew on the sheets.
You can check out prior pieces on Wislotski’s Facebook page, Paul’s Innerprizes and Collective art.
“Jesus is behind it,” Wislotski said. “Don’t forget him. He’s the major reason I do this. I’m not going yell at you — sit there and yell at you. I’m not going to do that. I don’t have to do that. I share him this way.”