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Spontaneous Smiley Project :: Ruth Kaiser

Ruth Kaiser

I know what is expected in an artistís statement: to tell you that I received my degree in art from the University of California Berkeley, to list the famous and not so famous artists with whom I have studied and whose work has influenced me. And yes, I'm expected to include details of my early work as a sculptor and my more recent exploration of photography, and to flesh it out with details of my being a teacher at, an actor, a mom. But who I am hardly matters.

The Spontaneous Smiley Project is more about who each person can choose to be. Itís all about taking a pause from the chaos of life to remember that every day, we are surrounded by such incredible wonder. And every day we ignore this wonder as we live in our heads instead of in the moment that is passing us by. This show is not about me but about a philosophy.

The Spontaneous Smiley Project is a mindset that is not so much about being open to finding the Smileys 24/7 as is it is about being open to finding the Joy 24/7.

It is an invitation to pay attention to the life you have.

It is an outlet for optimism.

Slow down and see the Smileys is just another way of saying stop and smell the roses.

It is also, quite honestly, a love affair with the technologies of the digital camera and of social networking. The low cost digital camera has removed the limitations that cost used to put on photography. Now anyone can play around shooting 80 pictures of a potato to capture just the right image of Potato Smiley. And anyone can use their computer to crop the image, enhance the contrast, etc. The Spontaneous Smiley Project invites you, everyone, to be an artist.

Through The Spontaneous Smiley Project and our ever growing Facebook group thousands of people in dozens of countries have come together to share the Spontaneous Smileys they have found and photographed. Never before has there been a way for people to exhibit their art for viewing and comment. Previously that arena was limited to the very select few who could call themselves successful artists. Wow, isnít that just about the coolest thing?!

With their Smiley photographs, people have shared stories about how the project has changed their outlook on life. Isnít that the goal of art? I have been touched by all of the comments. I often feel like I'm kind of a goof, in my own sappy little world. Then I hear from participants in the project about how much fun and happiness this project has given them and I feel like Iím on the right track.

For myself, I have used this platform to share my own photography. I strive to have my Smileys not merely catch a smile, but for each one to be visually pleasing as a work of art.

Oh, and my name is Ruth Kaiser.

Maybe the more grateful you are for all you have,the more Smileys you get from the Universe.
-From a Smile Captain

Email Ruth Kaiser



Spontaneous Smiley Project
November 22, 2009 to January 2, 2010
Artist's Reception
Saturday, November 21st     6 to 8pm

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The Spontaneous Smiley Project

Here's what it's all about: Be porous not Teflon.

If you go through life
with a Teflon coating, you miss out. Donít be oblivious to the beauty that surrounds you. Beyond the clichťs, notice the rainbows and smell the flowers, donít miss the beauty of rust, peeling paint, schmutz on the surface of water . . .

Instead be porous; soak it all up. Let your eyes and ears and fingertips suck all the pleasure out of every moment. Eat your french fries slowly to get every greasy, salty bit of enjoyment out of those calories. Search for the beauty and joy in the objects and in the activities of your life. It's there. Always.

Be porous! Or moments, hours, days, even your whole lifetime can slip by un noticed. Decide to notice.

Eyes, ears and nostrils open!  And bring your camera. Smileys are everywhere.

All photographs in this show are the work of Ruth Kaiser. To see thousands of other Spontaneous Smileys from Thousands of Smile Captains (a.k.a. project contributors) in dozens of countries, go to

Learn More about the Project

Wow! Ruth Kaiserís Spontaneous Smiley Book

Take one home:
Ruth's Smiley photos available for purchase

Join the Spontaneous Smiley Facebook group

View A fun Smiley YouTube video from Earthdance Festival 2009

Spontaneous Smileyís Operation Smile web page. Recently we've partnered with OPERATION SMILE, a network of volunteers working worldwide to repair childhood facial deformities. Smiley uploads earn donations for Operation Smile.

Follow on Spontaneous Smiley on Twitter

The Spontaneous Smiley Project has been featured in many publications:
Oakland Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Contra Costa Times
Chicago Daily Herald
Chicago Red Eye
Post Standard, Central NY
Pittsburg Tribune
Ottawa Citizen
Hawaii Star Bulletin
Honolulu Advertiser
Diablo Magazine
Orlando Sentinel
Twin Cities Pioneer Press
Seattle Times

And the Orinda News, Wichita Eagle, My Philadelphia, St. Louis Fox News, Baltimore Sun
Hartford Courant, New York Newsday, Milwaukee Fox News the Tu Bienestar ...and many more.

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