Kent -- A 2007 Hudson High School graduate is traveling around the world -- one mug at a time.
Justin Crowe, a studio artist living in Kent is hoping his art project, "MEME The World," incorporates people from across the world, showing a common thread as he collects photos of people holding special hand-made pottery mugs which have been purchased and passed on to others.
"The project, called MEME The World, aims to create shared experiences though the passing and receiving of pottery mugs," Crowe, 24, said.
According to Crowe, a meme is "an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture."
"My goal is to collect hundreds of photos documenting people's values, environments and ideas -- all in one place where everyone is connected by a common experience," Crowe said. "MEME The World will compare Internet culture and physical culture exploring: how we share ideas, what is global, or what is viral and I hope that MTW enables an enhanced perspective on our cultures relationship with technology trends."
Crowe also teaches an expressions pottery class for Hudson Montessori Middle School and summer classes for Hudson Community Education and Recreation. He is also founded the Interned art gallery, Dizbe.com.
The idea for the project began as Crowe compared his work with Dizbe.com and as a studio artist.
"The nature of these two environments are very different, but I began to see similarities such as how ideas are shared," Crowe said. "A coffee mug has the ability to carry information in a similar way that an Internet meme carries information."
The difference between a mug and an Internet meme is that "memes spread form person to person and mugs stay eternally loyal to one user," Crowe said.
"By making the experiences of a mug available and by passing the mug from person to person, I want to create a type of physical world meme object," Crowe added.
On Jan. 20, mugs began their journey across the globe as part of a test phase, Crowe said.
As of press time, Crowe has raised enough money through the Internet fundraising site, Kickstarter, to produce and distribute 45 cups. Crowe hopes to sell 200 mugs.
"All of the funds I raise through Kicktstarter will go towards the production of more MTW cups," Crowe said.
The mugs have appeared in the U.S. and as far away as Scotland and England, according to Crowe. The mug's journey can be traced by entering a special code into Crowe's website.
To see pictures of the mugs visit the website: www.MemeTheWorld.com.
To see a video explaining the project visit:
The video and mugs are featured in the Kent Downtown Gallery through April 20 as part of the 12th Annual National Juried Cup Show.