Gratuitous Gifting news article: Planck Studios Chicago Prints and Photos

Gratuitous Gifting

I Got Gifted: The Guerrilla Art of L.E. Don

Posted Aug 16, 2008
How cool is this - following the reception at the South Loop Neighbors Photo Show, [James R. Hugunin](http://www.uturn.org/vita/vita.htm) (professor of art history/theory/criticism at [SAIC](http://www.saic.edu/), managing editor of [U-turn Art E-Zine](http://www.uturn.org/index3.html) & one of the 3 judges) gave me an envelope from L.E. Don - an artist, philanthropist and all around enemy of capitalism. In the envelope was $100 and a brief explanation. L.E. Don's calls his project [Gratuitous Giving](http://uturn.org/cadeau/mainpg.htm). It's part performance art and part humanitarianism. His goal is to teach others that there are alternatives to capitalism by sharing in the experience of a [gift economy](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gift_economy). <div align="center" style="margin-top:15px"><img src="/media/photos/le-don_seal.jpg"></div> <div align="center" style="font-size:11px;">L.E. Don's Seal: a person opening an envelope with paper money sticking out of it</div> <br> The guerrilla nature of Don's work is interesting to me. He's a graffiti artist, spreading emotional highs on people vs. paint on walls. [His online gallery](http://uturn.org/cadeau/gift8.htm) is filled with the seemingly random effects from such a wide scoping project. There are recipients in San Francisco, Chicago and China among other places. <div align="center" style="margin-top:20px;"><a href="http://uturn.org/cadeau/gift8.htm"><img src="/media/photos/donframed_01.jpg"></a></div> <div align="center" style="font-size:11px;">Available at Don's website: a suitable-for-framing celebrity photo of the man himself</div> <br> To it's effect, there is something entirely unique about each surprise gifting. It's fun to open presents and add to that the spectacle of strangers excitedly awaiting your reaction and photographing you - instant stardom. I was luckier than most in fact, every 50 giftings Don sends out $100 (vs. the normal $20) and calls it getting 'The Big One'. So, [that's me at the bottom of the page](http://uturn.org/cadeau/bigone.htm), getting 'The Big One', right under the gangster and the drugs. Wooo hooo! Thanks L.E. and thanks Jim!