Part of the purpose of my art is to push myself, to try new things and share them, in the hope of encouraging others. On 8th April 2016 I left a piece of my art in a local town with a note on the reverse. The note read: This is a free piece of art. If you like it, take it home.
I left the art outside our local town hall in the morning, and on my return from London later that evening it was still in place. I had a mini crisis of confidence and took it home, not wanting it to be alone all night! Carole reminded me that I was supposed to be leaving art for others, not retrieving it myself, so I replaced it the following day, and in time it disappeared.
Since then, I’ve left at least one piece of art out every week for someone in the community to find.
In June 2016, my work caught the attention of the good people at Surprising Sutton who kindly featured the project on their website. After this, a local framer contacted me and offered to get involved. Kevin at The Eagle Gallery is currently supporting the project by offering to frame the art for the people who find it.
The project continued over the summer and in August 2016 the local newspaper ran a feature on it. I then had a very busy week as the project featured on the ITV London evening news, and in The Telegraph.
I’m learning a lot from the project. I’m learning a lot more about my community, I’m learning about what it feels like to make things then let them go, and trying not to have any expectation thereafter. Most of all, I’m learning what it feels like to be open to the possibilities and to have the discipline to keep going.
Update: Summer 2019. It is well over three years since the project started, during which time over 200 artworks have been produced and hidden. Although the vast majority of the artworks are placed in the Wallington and Carshalton area, art has also been hidden in Manchester, Liverpool, London, and further afield in Australia, the USA, Germany, and Spain. Most recently, four artworks have been dispatched and hidden in the towns our local borough is twinned with, to strengthen these important cultural bonds.
Update: Spring 2020. I had made plans to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the free art project with a special free art trail, however COVID-19 put paid to that. I’ve kept the project going by offering free art drops linked to online quizzes – solve the clues and guess where the art is, or guess the theme which connects the answers. In this way I’ve been able to keep some community engagement going and continue to bring a little artistic joy to myself and others.
The free art project has received two community awards, and secured a small grant which was used to run community art workshops, and to help fund a trip to Berlin to hide art and run a two day workshop there. In addition, several community art events have taken place, including workshops, art trails, and a pop up exhibition.