Ever walked around Baltimore and found something like this?

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Chances are, no. That’s because artist Idle Ph.D. has an intense social media following who spring into action whenever an art drop happens.

What’s an art drop you say? Across the country, there’s a community of artists who create art specifically for the reason of leaving it out in the middle of their cities. That’s exactly what Idle Ph.D. does in their free time under the tag #freeartbmore.

I sat down last week for an interview with Idle, who wishes to remain anonymous.

Idle by day is an engineer at John Hopkins but by night uses their access to laser cutters and reprographic design software to create intricate wood, paper, paint, and sticker pieces.

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Before coming to Baltimore, Idle was deeply involved with the Atlanta art drop scene under the tag #FAFATL. They say they get a lot of inspiration from Evereman who drops art all over the US. Since their first drop in 2013, they’ve tripled the number of drops over a year because of the massive increase in demand.

But since arriving in Baltimore, they haven’t found that intense art drop community that they were coming from. But that just means there’s a bigger demand for free art. So far, Idle has been able to rope a few more artists into doing drops and hopes to make this community grow.

Their art style is usually topical. Like when Gene Wilder died they produced golden tickets and left them at bars around Bmore, some clone troopers for the latest Star Wars movie, and politically-inspired art after the recent presidential election.

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Usually, Idle leaves art near mailboxes in city centers, at bars or cafes, on lamp posts and benches, and during the holiday made ornaments and left them on trees around the city. Check out artists festivals around the city too, one of their favorite types of places to drop.

It seems pretty obvious what the city gets out of this, but Idle says there’s more than just the art at stake. They say dropping and sharing on social media gives people an incentive for heading outdoors. There’s also the thrill of the chase and the thrill of finding a piece.

What they get out of it, Idle tells me, is the feeling of someone being excited by their piece. They love seeing people posting pictures of their pieces after they’re found and tag them.

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The best advice they give to dropping is to just do whatever you want.

“Theres no rules, so do whatever you really want to. Just do it for fun.”

They do say that you shouldn’t spend too much time or money on a project or piece. Pick a place with heavy foot traffic or can easily be reached by pedestrians. And don’t be worried if your piece isn’t picked up right away, “someone will get it eventually, especially the more you drop.”

They also say collaboration is key. If you’re really interested in dropping art around your city grab some friends to make the art more important, not just to you but to the community you’re dropping in.

Check out the tags #FreeArtBmore, #FAFDC, and #FAFDMV if you want to see this growing community in action, or start dropping and add yourself to this movement.

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Also. check out more of what Idle Ph.D. is doing over on their Instagram (@idle_phd) and twitter (@Idle_PhD) and watch out for future drops. Just for our readers, Idle has said to watch their twitter around the end of February 2017 for a new drop.

What motivates you to make art? Is it the thrill of the process or the completed piece? Tell us in the comments!

~Intern Martha

(all images belong to and come from @idle_phd, Instagram)

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