Sharp Art

local artist Hanna Agar lands deal with Sharpie

Trevor Kupfer, photos by Andrea Paulseth

The mark up on today's art is outrageous.

    Most artists think their “big break” involves going to a big city, networking with the right people, landing a few gallery shows, and getting people with power to notice. All it took for recent UWEC art graduate Hanna Agar was a rep from Sharpie to make a convenient click of the mouse. Hanna’s spring BFA Show involved a performance art piece called Train of Thought, in which three people engaged in a free association exercise where they wrote down words, phrases, lyrics, observations, whatever came into their head. They did this on partitions lined with recycled paper (the main medium of the entire show) using Sharpies. A few weeks later a Sharpie rep was looking for artwork for a new marketing campaign called Sharpie Uncapped, and found a photo gallery of Hanna’s work on Now Hanna is part of the Sharpie Squad, a group currently around a dozen strong “who breathe art into our product and make it shine,” its website says. As part of the unpaid gig, Hanna will receive a box of products every month and she’ll be one of the first to try new ones and review them on their blog. Hanna is likewise expected to create six to eight pieces by the end of the year that incorporate Sharpies. She has the freedom to use any media, and will maintain the rights to the pieces, but if all goes well, Sharpie may use them for their trendy ads. Other Squad members have created famous pieces like a Mountain Dew bottle, skateboard decks, and popular clothing items, so this project stands to afford the young artist quite an opportunity at the big time. “I’m not getting paid – that would be awesome – but it’s more about exposure,” Hanna said. “And at this point, that’s what I need. You never know. I mean, they found me.”

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