The final “drop” of the year-long #365ArtDrop18 piece, never actually “dropped” of course, always carefully placed, the 365th piece was left on New Year’s Day in exactly the same place as the very first piece was left on January 1st 2018. 365 paintings on found recycled material, one year-long piece of work in 365 parts. 365 paintings on found material, material pulled out of skips or picked up off the street, material picked up, cleaned up, painted on and then left hanging back out there for people to take should they wish to.
The year-long #365Artdrop18 piece of work took in the Deptford X Art Festival as well as the 2018 Leytonstone Arts Trail, the Mayfair Art Weekend and the rather beautiful Byline festival – 43 paintings left hanging in a forest in Sussex during the weekend of the Sussex festival. During the year paintings were left in Fulham, Walthamstow, Chelsea, Bermondsey, Hackney, Clapton, Shoreditch, Soho, Hammersmith, Fitzrovia, Nottinghill and well, pretty much every part of London/ Pieces were left hanging outside old music venues, on the fence outside the old Apple office on Saville Row, outside art galleries, at Crossbones, at Columbia Road Flower Market, pieces hung in Hackney Wick as the buildings were being pulled down, outside schools, on the Southbank, on the wall of the Tate on Christmas Eve, several pieces were left amongst the colour of on Brick Lane during the year, a piece on the closed gates of the old Stand underground station, at the Royal Albert Hall, on the walls of Sclater Street Market, at the Art Car Boot Fair in Kings Cross, on bridges over the Thames, on railway stations, under railway bridges, on walls at Borough market, on the hospital wall at Whitechapel, at Hackney City Farm, at the Nomadic Community Garden in Shoreditch, pieces were left in far too many places to list, we did a lot of walking.
Each piece was numbered and marked on the back with the #365ArtDrop18 hashtag that is the title of the piece, each piece marked with an invitation to take the piece written on the back, people were invited to engage, to post photos of themselves with the pieces, to use their social media feeds, to tell us where the pieces had gone. I didn’t get out of London that often in 2018, my art certainly did, we know of pieces being found and taken home to Canada, to the United States, to Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Norway, Israel, Brazil, Austria, to Wales, Scotland, Ireland, to Manchester, Bristol, to Newcastle and Brighton, to all kinds of interesting places. It took a whole year to complete the piece, it wasn’t about one a day, just 365 in the year, a lot of walking, a lot of painting, a lot of sandpaper and cleaning and preparing, a lot of bus rides, Pieces were only ever left hanging on nails or hooks that were al;ready there, nothing was ever hammered in, no one’s art was harmed, nothing was intended to be permanent, nothing was meant to impose, (far too often street art is imposed on people and places, and yes, sometimes I do have a problem with the way so called street artists impose themselves). The pieces were only ever hung on hooks and nails that were already there, the pieces were meant to be taken, nothing was meant to stay for too long. Most pieces seemed to go within hours of them being left, sometimes they’d hang about for a week or two, sometimes someone would take a piece while we were still there, we met some great people, heard some amazing tales. people would send e.mails or Facebook and Instagram messages asking where I might be leaving pieces that week, it wasn’t about telling people though, it was always about just leaving the paintings and maybe posting a couple of photos once they had been left. The photos of the pieces on the walls were a big part of this, we were very picky about where the pieces were left, The photos people sent were an even bigger part of the piece, a vital part – it was always about engagement, about people, about art being for all, about using the streets as a gallery, about people taking part, about the way we waste things, about revisiting evolving walls, about leaves growing, about the Captain’s Table, inner city ecology, about so many things
And so 365 paintings were left hanging out on walls for people to take during 2018, we don’t know what happened to all of them, we know about lots of them though, we met lots of people, we had some great conversations, we got some great e.mails and social media messages. We saw one hanging in someone;s garden, we saw a couple of pieces hanging in an art gallery with price tickets on them, we saw one or two for sale on internet auction sites, we heard about several hanging in a restaurant in East London (a restaurant that we can’t afford to eat at), we heard of one being on a wall in a doctor’s surgery, I’m told there’s one hanging in the office of a West End art dealer. This was the second year long 365 piece, there probably won’t be a third (although there is a leap year coming up, how does a 366artdrop sound?). Besides the two year-long pieces there’s been two year long pieces, there’s been several other art drops, the 43 piece drops in Folkestone as part of the Triennial Fringe, the one in Leytonstone as part of the 2017 Arts Trail, the 43 paintings that were left on the 43rd day of 2016, the 43 hung during the Hackney WickED weekend of 2016, actually there were two 100 piece drops at previous Hackney WickED weekends, I would estimate something like 1500 paintings, all on recycled material, have been left out on on the street in the last half a dozen years (and quite a few in the years before, I think I first left a painting painted on a piece of recycled material on a wall in Manchester somewhere in the last century). We’re eight days into the new year now, I haven’t left anything on the street in 2019, not yet, I have picked up a few things to clean up and paint on, I have completed a number of new paintings on pieces of wood pulled out of builders skips during the first week of this year …
There’s a slideshow of photos documenting all the 365 2018 paintings as well as where they were left hanging here. A big big thanks to everyone who took part, everyone who took a piece or posted a photo or sent us a message about the piece they found, a thanks to the organisers of Byline, Deptford X, The Mayfair Art Weekend and the Leytonstone Arts Trail, thanks everyone, we had a great time…. S