Saturday, January 23, 2010

100 billet doux

I have just started a quick project for Valentine's Day.

Over ten years ago I was working on a project which involved textual messages of love.
The first part of it involved putting up quite negative texts around the city, which were in response to my romantic situation at the time. Then when I started to feel more positive I distributed messages of love around the city instead. (see photo above)
It is interesting for me to notice, by looking back at my old sketch books, that I am still using texts, and still interested in love, relationships and the public/private dichotomy today. I think at the time what I was doing was quite unself-conscious - and of course the work is more rough and ready - also interestingly the text has inverted (colourwise) and has gone from black on white, to white on black.

I have decided to repeat the activity in a way, and so here is the call for 'participants:'

It is nearly Valentine’s Day.

10 years ago around this time I went into the city armed with a fistful of 100 love messages, printed in black text on white paper.

They were messages of love for strangers.

I put them under the windscreen wipers of people’s cars – and hoped that for someone somewhere they would ring true.

My Mum told me that this could cause trouble for people’s marriages. What if a jealous husband thought his wife was having an affair as a result of my little text? I prefer to think that they made someone, somewhere feel amazing for a second.

I want to repeat the act in some way now, ten years later – but this time the texts should not be unsolicited – they should come from you.

If you want me to send someone a message of love on your behalf - simply send me their name and address, and I will send them one of the love texts in time for Valentine’s day. Email me at

The first 100 people will be selected.

Free Love.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Winner Takes it All? Book Surprise!

Today I received a very exciting, unexpected surprise package in the post...It held 30 copies of the book to document 'The Winner Takes It All?'
'The Winner...' was an event which I was lucky enough to be selected to attend, which took place in Liverpool during 2008 Capital of Culture year. It offered an opportunity for artists from across the UK to visit and explore the city, and question, discuss and debate issues arising from the cities status as capital of culture - and opening the wider debate over cultural led urban regeneration.
It was an amazing opportunity, and one that I am still thinking about more than a year later. CLICK HERE to read my original documentation of the event, which has been quoted in the book!
I am particularly pleased to receive the copies of the book as one of my photographs has been used as the front cover. The book is a document of some of the discussions which took place during the weekend, and an exploration of the context and intentions and purpose of events like this by James Buso (project manager for The Winner) plus a really interesting essay by Penny Whitehead on 'legacy,' and an article by Glasgow based artist Janie Nicholl, which sets Liverpool's award in context, through a discussion of Glasgow's previous experience of the same award.
I find the debates particularly interesting, after the articles in Stoke's local paper suggesting we should get the award.
A big thank you to all of the Liverpool artists for hosting the event, and an even bigger one to Jim, for documenting the event in this way - ensuring that these important discussions are recorded and distributed.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

POST - at Trove

This Friday I will be popping along to Trove - the art space at the Old Science Museum, Birmingham where I have some work on display (see above) as part of the group show POST.
Here's a bit about it:For the forthcoming exhibition at TROVE this January 2010, curator Charlie Levine and artist Hayley Lock have invited friends and acquaintances from the social network facebook to partake in a Christmas card/collage exchange. All works posted through the physical and therefore traditional routes are to be traditionally displayed together in plan chests at TROVE. The exhibition will be an amalgamation of works responding to the idea of ‘Post’.

Artists include:

Darren Banks, Liz Bradshaw, Martyn Cross, Vicky Cull, Annabel Dover, Tracy Eastham, Rebecca Foster, Anna Francis, Anneka French, Jo Gane, Helen Grundy, Lulu Horsfield, David Kefford, Hayley Lock, Renauld Loda, MAMA, David Miller, Malcolm Moseley, Justine Moss, Alex Pearl, John Rixon, Sarah Sparkes, Emily Speed, Ana Benlloch and Stuart Tait, Cathy Wade, Edward Wakefield, Lucy Wilson, Jennifer Zoellner

The private view is on Friday night: 15th Jan 6-9pm.
UPDATE:We arrived at Trove around half six (after getting a bit lost in Birmingham) the big expanse must be where the rest of the science museum used to be. Trove is in the one remaining building - which used to house the Museum's collection of steam engines, we were told.
On arrival we were intrigued as there didn't seem to be any lights on in the building, on entering it became clear why, as we were handed a torch, with which to go and explore the art works.
In the large space were two museum chests - which viewers were busy opening in order to view the art works. This made the experience more intimate and interesting. Viewers had to collude with each other on when to close this drawer and open the next one.
I became 'partners' with a man whose face I couldn't see - looking through each drawer, and commenting on it to each other 'Are we allowed to touch them do you think?' 'What do you think that is made of?' For around 4 minutes we were confidantes - and then it was over.
The genius of the exhibition was in the experience, reading someone elses letters by torchlight, in a big old museum building. 'Post' is now set to travel to Southend-on-Sea for another showing down there, I think I may send something extra to go with it...