They say art can be found almost anywhere if one looks hard enough. Of course, “they” are probably saying this while tripping balls on mushrooms or while pontificating to classmates in a freshman-level sculpture course. However, for anyone roaming around off the beaten path in Bay View in the last week or two, that statement could actually be true. Milwaukee artist L.CHAPPELLE (a.k.a. Luke Chappelle of Drugs Dragons) recently hid about 30 of his paintings—some of which are 10 years old—in hard-to-find nooks of the neighborhood. No, it wasn’t done with the intention of installing some type of neighborhood-wide exhibit. He just needed the room in his apartment.
“The base intention was just to clear away dead wood, but I liked the idea of someone being surprised to find, and then own a piece of my art from out of the blue,” Chappelle says. “I like the idea of someone deciding to take a detour from their normal route and finding a piece of artwork, and all the questions that may or may not arise from that.”
Some of the larger pieces were discarded in front of a dumpster near his place, and he says those were claimed within the day. The rest were carefully tucked away in a variety of secluded places on Milwaukee’s southeast side. Of the 30 scattered throughout Bay View, about six have yet to be located. Should you happen upon one of the painting, it’s yours for the taking.
“Keep it if you want it. Piss on it. Give it to your dentist as a gift. The possibilities are endless,” Chappelle says. “Just don’t give it back to me.”
Chappelle says he might leave more work around town soon once space becomes an issue.
“It would be awesome if I could sell the crap instead, but I’m pretty sure that ship sailed awhile ago,” he says. “The market for creepy pictures of demons made with puffy paint really dropped off around the time of the housing crisis.”
L.CHAPPELLE will display some work at Acme Records on August 27. In the meantime, just bike down some Bay View back alleys. Maybe you’ll find something.