The last physical free art drop I made was way back in March 2020. I didn’t think it was right to continue the game during lockdown, so apart from a few online drops – the project has been dormant for a while.
October 10th is World Mental Health Day, and as someone who has benefited from counselling to help with anxiety and depression – this feels like a good time to restart. The mental health charity Mind is inviting us all to do one thing for better mental health – and this free art drop is my one thing.
I’ve sprayed my newly commissioned ‘HumanKind’ design onto an LP – I’ll hide it somewhere in the neighbourhood over the weekend. This is the only time this design will be released as a free art drop – a unique opportunity to get your hands on one of my favourite recent pieces of work.
It feels good to be back – and I hope you will do something for better mental health too.
A little something for Mental Health Awareness Week
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week – and the theme this year is ‘Kindness’. I’m currently supporting a local heritage project called The Locals Diaries, which is encouraging people to journal their thoughts and feelings during these unusual times. Part of this support is a series of creative ‘how to’ videos, designed to give people something artistic to do, and to consider applying the creative process to their own journalling. If you’re interested, you can check out the videos here on the Sutton Council Youtube channel. Two have been published so far, and there’s one coming out this week focusing on kindness and poetry.
In addition to this work – I’ve been continuing my free art drops, albeit online, and I’m doing some creative practice linked to kindness through my work at GameShift.
I wanted to do something else to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, so this morning, I made a series of ten small artworks – simple designs painted onto 100% cotton rag paper.
These mini art drops will be placed in our neighbourhood over the next few days, when I’m out and about taking exercise. There will be no photos, no clues, but if you happen to spot one of these when you’re out and about – please take it if you like it. If you’re doing anything in support of Mental Health Awareness Week 2020, I’d love to hear about it.
Update: I hid two of the mini hearts on May 18th – and later that evening someone contacted me to say they found one, while they were out walking their dog. That was a kind thing to do.
Back in 2012, a few days after my Dad died, I decided to take advantage of the extra day we had that year, and something called Leap Day happened. The two things are not closely related, but it is interesting for me to look back and be reminded that even in the immediate aftermath of dealing with a bereavement, wonderful creative things can happen. And Leap Day 2012 was indeed wonderful, both in ways we might have expected, and in ways we couldn’t possibly have foretold.
Leap Day #2
2016 eventually arrived, and with it, another Leap Day. It was once again wonderful, albeit a completely different experience. Leap Day 2016 was inspired by Alice In Wonderland, by thinking about legacy, and most of all, by the people who came along and made it happen. It also contained one of the seeds of what was to become my free art project, and for that I am grateful beyond measure.
Leap Day #3
February 29th is once again looming – and we are going to mark it with the third Leap Day. There was a time, not so very long ago – when I thought Leap Day 2020 would slide by unnoticed. I too was sliding, into depression, after experiencing fraud and a series of work projects unraveling in quick succession. I felt foolish and worthless and developed an unhealthy fear of rejection. I withdrew into loneliness – and while this felt like a good idea at the time, trust me, it sucks. It’s funny how often, the things that hurt the most, also offer the best opportunities to learn. Thanks to excellent friends and an outstanding local counselling service, I am fortunate to be able to look back and reflect on these experiences. Leap Day 2020, let’s go.
This year I plan to encourage playfulness as much as creativity and uncertainty. Everything we do or do not do will be offered in a spirit of generosity and curiosity. I am deliberately choosing not to practice some of the ideas I’ve had for the day, preferring instead to approach the experience with as close to the same sense of not knowing, as everyone else.
People tell me good things about Leap Day. ‘It’s a wonderful day’ ‘A fab catalyst’ ‘Leap Day inspires me’. I’d love you to take part in this one, to inspire others, and be inspired. If you can get to the National Theatre in London on Saturday February 29th for 10.30am, please join us. And if you can’t make it – well there might just be another one in four years time.