It’s hard to believe that Sharpie, once a simple labeling tool, now shows up as an art form in serious art galleries. One look at the work and it’s clear Sharpie markers have come a long way since their humble beginnings in 1964. While Sharpie has proven itself “artist friendly” (so many colors and tip sizes!), the really great thing is that they are accessible to almost everyone given their modest price – about a buck a Sharpie. Who needs expensive paints, pens and pencils when you can create amazing art with Sharpie markers?
Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery in Fort Wayne, Indiana is hosting what I believe is only the second Sharpie Show to take place, the first attributed to Crewest Gallery in L.A. which we first wrote about here in 2009 (the show was repeated in 2010). Already the Fort Wayne edition is getting its share of attention.
Who doesn’t love a Sharpie? Whether you’re labeling files, addressing a birthday card or doodling, the permanent markers available in a rainbow of colors are so much more fun than a basic ballpoint pen. With their various tips and myriad colors, Sharpies provide endless creative possibilities. The artists panel at Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery recognized this and put out a call for entries for an exhibit in which each piece has an element of Sharpie design. “There’s something fun about Sharpies,” said Artlink executive director Deb Washler. Although artists have been using markers for years – including brands other than Sharpie – “Sharpie kind of has its own culture,” she said. “I like all the colors they come out with,” she added. Some people in the arts field now use Sharpies when taking notes, Washler said. About 70 pieces will be in this show, which was an open call, meaning it’s not juried. “That’s how we meet new artists,” Washler said.
What: Artwork created with Sharpie markers.
Where: Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, 437 E. Berry St.
When: Through July 6. Hours: noon-5 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; noon-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 1-5 p.m. Sunday.
Admission: Suggested $2 donation.