In September, artist Todd Brittingham began the noble pursuit of bombing Pembroke Pines with whimsical faces.
The Plantation man slapped googly eyes and cartoonish red tongues against the facades of nine buildings citywide. The public can spot his cheap felt creations — each costs $4, plus nontoxic glue — on palm trees flanking City Hall, on a water tower overlooking a high school football stadium, and on the walls at Studio 18, the art colony hosting the works of Brittingham and six other artists for the exhibit "About Face | Portraiture: A Reflection of Ourselves."
"It's not some big mystical thing. But there's something about people getting their routine disrupted, if only for a brief moment, by a big smiley face, so they can feel disarmed and just laugh," the 49-year-old installation artist and charter school teacher says.
Pembroke Pines special-projects curator Jill Slaughter invited Brittingham to face-bomb the city after he recounted the time he visited his grandmother in North Carolina. He spotted a burned-out home with a cobblestone chimney protruding from the charred mess, and affixed his now-signature goofy eyes and triangular tongue to "bring out the object's innate energy," Slaughter says.
Several midcareer artists accompany Brittingham in "About Face," including JC Bravo, Diana Contreras, Barbara M. de Varona, Elyse Roth, Alex Altidor and Buddah Funk.
"About Face | Portraiture: A Reflection of Ourselves" will open 7-10 p.m. Friday at Studio 18, 1101 Poinciana Drive, in Pembroke Pines. The show will be on view through Nov. 22. Admission is free, with optional $3 donation to benefit the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Call 954-961-6067 or go to PPines.com/studio18.