The “One Million Giraffes” project started as a wager between Ola Helland and his friend Jorgen.
“He said there’s no way I could use the Internet to collect 1 million of anything,” Helland, a 25-year-old web developer from Stavanger, Norway, tells Asylum. “So I bet him a case of beer that I could collect one-million giraffes by the year 2011.”
Two days later, in June of 2009, Helland launched the project that changed his life. “I set up the site on a Monday and started it by posting it on my Facebook and Twitter account, thinking maybe I would get 20, maybe 30 giraffes,” says Helland. “Then I went to lunch. When I got back, I had 75 giraffes from 5 different countries.”
The giraffes have continued to pour in from all over the globe, from people of all ages. Helland works as a Web developer full-time but with over 2,000 giraffes coming into the Web site daily on average, it’s become an all-consuming project. And he can’t go anywhere without people asking about it.
“Maybe a week after it started, I knew my life would be all about giraffes for another year or so,” Helland tells Asylum. “And it has been — I have not had a normal conversation since last June.”
The rules are simple: You can create your giraffe(s) in any way you like, but not on a computer and not with store-bought objects.
Video describing how the one million drawn giraffe bet came about. It worked, and he even published a book of the amazing drawings people contributed.
This book is a mosaic compilation of nearly all of the one million handmade or drawn giraffes that Ola Helland collected on his website www.onemilliongiraffes.com! Who published the book? Kiba Kiba Books can be found online at www.kibakiba.com. It’s a global, crowdsourcing, hands-on, social art project. Kiba Kiba publishes art books for children of all ages (2-102!) to illustrate. Each book’s website has an collaborative art challenge to complete – just like “draw a giraffe.” All the art collected for each book creates online “art book pods” to inspire the youngest generation. So, what are you waiting for? Art challenges can be found online at http://www.kibakiba.com.