There may be no place where you can see sculptures made out of baby doll parts and a person walking around in a gas mask — other than the “Weird Shit Art Show.”
Here, you could find comedians, cosplayers, special effects artists and so much more under one roof. Everyone smiled at each other, reveling in the joy of making some really weird shit.
The show was hosted by the lively Misha Estrin, better known to the University of Minnesota community as the Free Hugs Guy, and even better known to the general public as Jeff Goldblum’s Son.
Estrin, a University alum, has produced the “Weird Shit Art Show” for three years now. He pushes for it to get bigger each year.
“I want an event where people or artists are contributors. They’re creating an experience for each other,” Estrin said. “How can I make the most people feel valued in a space ... that they’re creating something?”
The show started with a single friend in mind. Estrin said he was blown away by their art and felt that there needed to be a space for them to showcase it. When the idea for the “Weird Shit Art Show” was born, he realized it could be so much more.
“If it means so much to this one person, then think of all the other people out there whose art is weird and bizarre who don’t get featured in museums,” Estrin said.
Weird and bizarre it was. When you walked into the A-Mill Artist Lofts on Sunday, a table — which was supposed to act as the info desk — would constantly switch purposes. A sign would read “Bad Advice.” The next time you came around, it might read “Free Shrugs.”
There was a mannequin head sitting on the bar and googly eyes randomly placed on the walls. The art varied widely and included hats knitted to look like animals, neon-colored abstract paintings, an exhibit set up to look like childhood drawings and letters on the fridge.
“This art show is also about developing artists’ creativity and incentivizing artists to do something differently,” Estrin said.
Rane Bowman, also known as RaneBo Warrior, showcased their bright, trippy paintings on canvases and on bodies. They started painting to deal with depression, and they’ve been able to push their own boundaries and styles of painting since.
“The colors are always the priority and forefront of the work for me,” Bowman said. “They really speak to me.”
The crowd was dressed just as uniquely as the art. There were people on roller skates and in skin painted blue. A few hours into the show, models walked around in plastic bags, ready to strut down the runway for the “Plastic Bag Fashion Show.”
Target bags, trash bags and bags that told you to "have a nice day" were cut up and tied together until they resembled clothing items.
A few of the artists in the show acted as models on the improvised catwalk.
“This brings people out of everywhere,” said Joe Cocozzello, a comedian and Estrin’s best friend. “These people don’t do art shows together outside of [Estrin].”
The atmosphere of the show was abundant with creative energy. Almost nobody was a stranger; almost everybody was a good friend.
“I just want to spark other people building communities, because that’s what we need,” Estrin said. “Community.”