Art does sometimes need to engage, it never needs to dumb down, but it does need to engage a little more…

 

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A #365ArtDrop18 piece on Brick Lane, East London, November 2018

Some times it is good to get out beyond an art gallery, some of those galleries can be very unfriendly places, not all of them, but so many of them are rather unfriendly unwelcoming places, one of the things the #365ArtDrop18 piece is about is the people who choose to take the pieces that have been left hanging on the street, it is part of the point of the piece that people take them and enjoy being part of it all, it is about engagement, about the enjoyment both for me as an artist and hopefully for the people who choose to take the paintings. The hashtag on the back of the 365 pieces that will eventually make up the year-long #365ArtDrop18 is very important, as are the photos and the tales that other people post on their social media feeds and such. The paintings are all on material found on the street, things that people have thrown away, unwanted pieces of wood, old frames and canvases, things that were heading for landfill or were just going to be left there to rot (and when something is thrown out them leaves will grow, although others choose to see other things painted, I mostly paint leaves).

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A #365ArtDrop18 piece found, Brick Lane, East London, November 2018

Yesterday, 36 pieces, mostly painted on wood from a smashed up piece of wooded furniture pulled from a Hackney skip, were left hanging around the streets of East London (it isn’t about one piece a day, more about 365 over the whole year). of those 36 paintings left out yesterday we’ve heard of pieces being taken by people from Baltimore, from Rome, London, Manchester, from Jordan and France, we don’t hear about the fate of all the pieces of course, I guess some of them might end up in landfill anyway, we do get some great stories and some excellent photos from people though, a big part of this, the second year-long 365 art drop piece, is the engagement and the people.

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The latest #365ArtDrop18 paintings, November 2018

I love art galleries, they can be wonderful places, but they can also so often be aloof unfriendly, elitist attitudes, unwelcoming places, sometimes almost arrogantly so, art does sometimes need to engage, it never needs to dumb down, but it does need to engage a little more

 

 

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Columbia Road, A Cross For A Red Queen, three poppies, more art drops…

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The six week Cultivate Columbia Road takeover was, on the whole rather successful,  lots of engagement in the gallery, lots of interesting people, lots of good artists, four shows curated, lots of positive engagement, good conversation, sales (a piece of art sold is always a welcome thing, once a piece is finished it really is good to get it out of here, make space for the next ones). Columbia Road was good, the gallery, an old greengrocer’s shop that still had the old till and some of the fittings was good, the engagement with the locals was good, we thought it would all be about te flower market crowds on the Sundays but really it was about the locals who avoided Sundays,the real East End people, the Somalia family who lived around the corner and had never been in an art gallery before, the people who engaged with Emma Harvey’s Riot Grrrl paintings, the people who reacted to the stars in the window. Every space and place we take Cultivate to is different, different people, different feels, different crowds, really enjoyed the six week of the Columbia Road takeover, I like it when a show reaches beyond the art crowd, really must write in more depth about the takeover on the Cultivate website, thanks everyone.

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A #365ArtDrop18 piece left hanging in Hackney and now in Germany…

meanwhile the #365ArtDrop18 piece goes on, a year-long on-going piece of work in 365 parts, 365 paintings on found recycled material picked up off the street. Material found, cleaned up, painted on and them left hanging back out on the street for people to take should they wish to. It isn’t about a piece a day, the piece is about 365 paintings left out on the streets over the whole year. I see a piece left hanging under a railway bridge in Hackney last week ended up in Germany.

Yesterday at the studio, work in progress, yesterday being Sunday September 11th 2018, a larger canvas still being worked on… it seemed to be a fitting thing to be doing this on this of all weeks, indulging in something I love doing and being able to do so…

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Next stop, the first ever Christmas version the Art Car Boot Fair, it happens on December 9th down by new Port Street and the gallery district of Vauxhall, here in London, more details here

Meanwhile a bit of gardening and some leaf growth around a cross, a piece painted a couple of weeks back, a piece that for a reason I shall keep to myself is called “A Cross For A Red Queen”, a piece on canvas, 70cm x 50cm, acrylic, brickwork, spray paint, gloss varnish. a slight revisit to the crosses of the summer and that Kensal Green Cemetery show that happen quite some time ago now….

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“A Cross For A Red Queen” – canvas, 70cm x 50cm, acrylic, brickwork, spray paint, gloss varnish

The year-long artdrop piece went on at Deptford X last week..

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The Deptford X leg of the #365ArtDrop18 piece, Part 188/365, September 2018.

The on-going year-long #365ArtDrop18 piece continued over in Deptford, South London, last week as part of the 19th Deptford X art festival. The (always carefully carefully placed) drops we’re a part of the Fringe this year, the plan was for 43 paintings to be left as a response to the invitation to take part, the reality was only 22 were hung on the streets of Deptford – unfinished business then, we shall be back in the next few days. There’s simply just not enough days in the week or hours in the day right now, Deptford X on one side of the London, the Cultivate Columbia Road takeover happening at the same time on this side of town, it just wasn’t possible to be in two places at once last week. And so only 22 pieces of art, but hey, come on, 22 piee of art left for people to take, 22 paintings on found recycled material left hanging on walls around Deptford during the Deptford X festival.

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The Deptford X leg of the #365ArtDrop18 piece, Part 185/365, September 2018

We don’t hang around after the pieces have been hung, just leave them, take some photos asa record and then quietly go, we could see as we retraced our steps that  some pieces had been taken straight away, indeed one piece almost as we were hanging it (great conversation about Deptford and art and people with this guy who came over and asked about what we were doing (as I keep saying, a big part of what this piece is about is engagement)/ Others pieces were still there when we left, there to be claimed later as we saw via postings from people who had found pieces and posted images on their social media feeds in the days after the drop –  there is the #365ArtDrop18 hashtag on the back of each piece, engagement and people posting photos is a big part of the piece, it is encouraged…

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The Deptford X leg of the #365ArtDrop18 piece, Part 191/365, September 2018.

Here then are some images for my small part in this year’s rather imressively expansive Deptford X…

Please click on an image ot enlarge or to run the fractured slide show..

If you ever catch me saying something like that, please please please take me out back and have me shot, what a depressing way to talk about your art…

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Love that photos up there, more about it and the end here, but first, did a fellow artist really just tell me that art was “just a business”? Really? Did he really just say that? Really!? How depressing, do artists really think like that? Is “building a business” the only reason to put on an art show? “I’m building a business here” he said, really? Is art “just a business? If you ever catch me saying something like that, please please please take me out back and have me shot, what a depressing way to talk about your art and the shows you put on. I need to get that thought out of my mind. Of course you need to think about the reality of paying bills and eating and the rest but “just”? Really? It wasn’t Hamish by the way, I’m just getting to know Hamish, we were both invited to share the gallery walls by the people over at no format, no one mentioned business, they just extended the invite and offered the space, I didn’t know of Hamish Macaulay or his art until we were both invited to make use of the walls on no format gallery last week, looking forward to seeing what he’s been doing in there later today and them maybe reacting to it in some way. nice to actually some together with a gallery and another artist, makes for a refreshing change, Mr. “art Business” back there really didn’t get that notion, I guess now, thinking about it, his art kind of  reflects his attitude. I wonder when the ideas distilled through punk rock forty-odd years ago will ever filter down to the art world? Is it really just a business?

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Last week “Eleven” was part of an installation under the trees in a wood as part of an outdoor show as part of the Leytonstone Arts Trail, it spent two weeks being explored by foxes and blackbirds, this week the piece, painted on eleven pieces of a broken bed will be heading for a white-walled gallery called no format gallery over in Deptford, the show, Unframed? opens this coming Thursday evening July 26th

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Fresh leaf growth, new layers, starz and that big silver wooden frame that someone dumped on the street in Hackney last week. And when a frame is thrown out then leaves will grow in that unwanted frame. This painting was concluded late last night, I expect it might be on show at no format gallery next week as part of the #Unframed? show ( I didn’t say my work would be unframed, we’re just thinking outside the frame). The painting is acrylic on wood in found frame, 90cm x 65cm.

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Here it Comes Again – acrylic on wood in found frame, 90cm x 65cm. (July 2018)

The week of Unframed? is upon us, Hamish is working on some larger format prints in the space today ahead of Thursday evening’s opening, I shall be going over to see what he’s done and do some work of my own later . meanwhile I shall be hanging some of my recent paintings on the gallery wall and at the same time finding new things to work with and paint on during the week. Expect the year-;long #365ArtDrop18 piece to carry on south of the river during this coming week. Keep an eye on the walls around the area during the week. The idea is to find material that had been thrown out, clean it up, painting on it, and then hanging it back out there on the streets for people to take should they wish to. This particular piece was left hanging on a wall near no format gallery last week

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A #365ArtDrop18 piece left hanging in Deptford…

The excellent photo at the top of the page just arrived from Belgium, a shot taken outside the Stella factory so it seems, a brilliant photo of one of the finders of a #365ArtDrop18 piece with the painting her and her partner found, love this photo. One of the important aspects of this year-long piece of work in 365 parts, 365 paintings on found recycled material, is the photos of the finders with their pieces and tales of where the paintings have got to. This one was painted on a found piece of wood picked up off the street here in Hackney, it was left hanging on a wall somewhere in Shoreditch, East London, earlier this year, and now it has turned up in Belgium, this kind of thing is exactly what I was hoping would happen to the paintings and the #365ArtDrop18 piece, keep sending those photos in or posting them on social media so we can find them and share them.  Art? Just a business? What a sad way to think about it…

More leaf growth, new layers and the on-going year-long #365ArtDrop18 piece, 365 paintings on found recycled material…

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#365ArtDrop18 – 62/365, a leaf left hanging in Hackney, East London. May 2018

More leaf growth, new layers and the on-going year-long #365ArtDrop18 piece, 365 paintings on found recycled material, material picked up off the street in 2018, 365 paintings on found piece of recycled material throughout the year, 365 painting left hanging on walls, in tunnels, by canals, on fences, left for people to take should they wish to.

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#365ArtDrop18 – 72/365, a leaf left hanging by Columbia Road Market, East London,, May 2018

The weather is improving, the better weather means more drops, there’s been 73 so far, expect an explosion of paintings left hanging as the summer starts to kick in. The piece is all about engagement, the breaking down of those barriers that gallery doors (and attitudes) can so often throw up, that and of course questioning how wasteful we are, questioning why we don’t give a second thought to the things we just throw in skips to leave on the street or don’t ever dream of re-using or handing on to others…

Part 61 to 73 of the #365ArtDrop18 piece, click on an image to enlarge or ot run the slide show…

Bridges over the Thames, Chip shop walls, abandoned tube stations…

 

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#365ArtDrop18 – 49/365, a leaf left hanging on The Strand, London,

Bridges over the Thames, Chip shop walls, abandoned tube stations, the year-long #365ArtDrop18 piece of work goes on, there been 53 of the 365 paintings left out for people to take now, there would have been quite a few more but the weather so far this year really hasn’t been favourable in terms of leaving art hanging on walls.  Last week pieces were left down by the Thames, indeed a piece left on a bridge over the Thames. pieces were left all over town…

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#365ArtDrop18 – 53/365, a leaf left hanging by a bridge over the River Thames, London,

Pieces were left on The Strand, outside the old and now abandoned Aldwych tube station (or Strand station as it says on the front of the now bricked up building).  A piece left hanging on the wall of an East London chip shop was soon claimed by a little girl in red boots (almost as soon as I hung it, she got her dad to get it down for her). The interaction is a big part of the piece of work of course, the use of the hashtag and the hope that we hear about where this year’s pieces have got to is a very big part of the year-long piece, the photos of people with their pieces and such…..

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#365ArtDrop18 – 46/365, a leaf left hanging in East London, and quickly claimed…

We know that of the 53 pieces left hanging in London so far, that pieces have been found and taken to Belgium, Portugal, Germany, as well as various parts of the United Kingdom.   Alas this time, people are telling us they’ve found them via private message or by leaving comments under photos we’ve posted on social media, or by sending in very bad photos of just the piece of work and with no real context, I thought this was the selfie generation? Come on, let’s see you with the piece,  or go hold by a sign for your town or at least your cat, where have those pieces gone? Tell us the stories…

Click on an images to enlarge or ot run the slide show of some of the recent pieces left…