The highest purpose of art is to inspire. What else can you do? What else can you do for any one but inspire them? (Bob Dylan)
I was contacted a few days ago by Sam. Sam works in the library of a local school and has been following the free art project for a while now. Inspired by the project, and by Emma Watson’s Book Fairies, the school, Carshalton High School for Girls, has devised a community pay it forward project of its own. This week, Book Pixies came into being.
Students from the school have begun to distribute books in the local area. They visited a children’s hospital this week to start the project and give an interview to hospital radio. You can follow progress and find clues to where the books are being hidden on the school’s Learning Resource Centre instagram account. I wish the girls and the Book Pixies project every success. Who knows, maybe we’ll team up for a joint free art and book drop some time in the future?
I learned of the Book Pixies project while I was deep in preparation for an art exhibition. I was busy making and curating, surrounded by my work and wondering…’is it good enough?’ The timing of Sam’s approach, coincidental though it was, uplifted me, and helped motivate me to put together what became my most succesful art show to date.
I’m delighted to learn that the free art project has inspired others to act, and I am grateful for Sam taking the time to let me know. These little circles and loops are important so I’d like to leave you with something to think about. Who is inspiring you? How are they inspiring you? Have you told them?
The next free art drop is about to hit the streets. So what? This one feels a little special to me, as it marks the second anniversary of the We Are All Artists free art project. 104 consecutive weeks of making and hiding art, most of it in and around Wallington and Carshalton, with occasional trips further afield. There are 151 pieces of my work in the collection so far, plus an additional 7 made by other people.
I’ve been working on this second anniversary piece all week, and it’s now finished. Here are some photos of the work in progress.
This is the biggest piece I’ve made for the project so far, a 40cm x 80cm canvas showing a koi, a Japanese symbol of good fortune. It might prove a little tricky to hide, but I’m looking forward to finding a super sneaky place to leave it.
Thank you to everyone who has supported and taken part in the project so far. It grows into itself, and beyond too. When I look back at my work over the past 24 months I can’t imagine being without this experiment, it currently informs so much of what I do.
In case you are interested, the symbols in the lower left corner are my attempt at Chinese calligraphy. They signify ‘developing, becoming different.’
I thought you might like to see a photo of where I eventually hid the art (long story short a mix of bad weather meant I tried and failed to hide this piece on two previous occasions – this was third time lucky).
The free art project was a group effort this week, in the form of an art workshop in The Wallington Arms. We had a full house and after a short art game to encourage our inner artists, we experimented with a range of activities.
I brought along some 10cm square wood panels which people decorated, here’s an excellent daughter and mother combo.
People made large works and small works, landscapes, abstract works, greeting cards and more. I love this 3D panel.
There were luggage tags available for people to add good wishes to. At the end of the session, we tied all the wishes to some bunting hanging up in the pub, leaving the place full of good thoughts for everyone to enjoy.
One of the artworks made during the day was subsequently auctioned to help raise funds for MacMillan Cancer Research, and as I packed up the workshop, I spotted someone elsewhere in the pub celebrating their 18th birthday. During the workshop I made a panel with a silver and blue leaf design on a white background. I signed the piece and gave it to the person as a small token of celebration. I don’t have a photo of the art work but I consider it, and the workshop itself, to be the 101st week of the free art project.
Thank you to everyone who came along and helped make the event a success, it was lovely to see so many smiling faces throughout the afternoon. Thanks also to The Wallington Arms for hosting us – I couldn’t run these events without their support.