The Mystery Jar

Chalking on the Boston Common

Pursuant to our eternal quest to seek new methods of creative expression, we recently decided to try a new approach for passersby to use as they help us cover the pavement with color.  Instead of just giving them a stick of chalk and letting them run free with ideas, we filled a jar with little pieces of paper, each of which had a short pre-written prompt which they could use as inspiration.

We avoided simplicity and straightforwardness in our prompts, opting instead to leave ample room for interpretation and creativity.  So, for example, rather than writing simply "a purple monkey," we might re-phrase it to something like "a simian enraged by his frustrating evening commute."

By giving a general starting point from which participants could base their drawings, we also allowed the possibility of the unknown, and could enjoy the...ahem...interesting interpretations people came up with. 

Needless to say, the results were as fun as the process, participants seemed eager to play along, and this activity is now a staple of our chalkings. But we can't stop there: in the future, we'll try to "re-use" the prompts to observe the similarities and differences in the interpretations different people come up with from the same prompt. Should be interesting, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, below are some of the prompts people drew out of the Mystery Jar and drawings they made. And yes, in the future we'll also try to figure out a better way to take photos while keeping the prompts legible!

Onward...

Kitty-octopus.

Kitty-octopus


What it would look like if you combined a dinosaur and a chicken.

What it would look like if you combined a dinosaur and a chicken


Your worst nightmare.

Your worst nightmare


Ninja pancakes.

Ninja Pancakes


Self portrait.

Self-portrait


Barbara, the ninja sandwich, goes to war with Gary, the garlic mashed potatoes. (Ed. note: wow. Apparently we really like food and ninjas.)

Barbara, the ninja sandwich, goes to war with Gary, the Garlic mashed potatoes.


Explosive unicorn.

Explosive unicorn



Tina, the tiny, thunderous turnip, thanked Timmy, the unicycle-riding Japanese trapeze turtle.

Tina, the tiny, thunderous turnip, thanked Timmy, the unicycle-riding Japanese trapeze turtle



Spoons.

Spoons



Ducks in space.

Ducks in space



A strangely intense situation.

A strangely intense situation