“Have you done anything with that big black one yet?”

The black one before I touched it

The black one before I touched it, a piece left outside the gallery for the Art Depository…

“Have you done anything with that big black one yet?”

Actually, “Have you done anything with that big black one yet?” is a line of questioning from the next installment of these rather fracture thoughts from. Words from the corner of the street, multiple streams of  random thoughts all flowing at once, that line is something to do with the Art Depository week and a big black canvas that was left – thoughts and words that are still waiting to be pulled together in to some kind of nearly readable form (come back tomorrow I might have caught up by then, probably not though, there are new leaves to paint and layers of growth to tend…).

IF YOU LEAVE IT OUT THEN THE LEAVES WILL GROW

IF YOU LEAVE IT OUT THEN THE LEAVES WILL GROW – the ‘big black one on the wall during the Deep Purple show at Cultivate

Yes, I did do something with the big black one. The black one was a big unresolved painting left left outside the gallery during the Art Depository week at Cultivate, worked on in time for the closing evening of the depository week and then hung on the Cultivate wall the next week as part of the Deep Purple group show. More of all that later on in another blog –  the actual running Cultivate takes up every hour of every day, no time to blog about it as well as actually do it. As for finding time to actually make some physical art… Well we did see the taking on of a gallery and running it for a year as some kind of artistic statement in itself. point is, there’s not enough days in the week to make art, run a gallery and then find time to blog about it all… the writing it all down bit is important though..  Like we’ve already said many time, we wanted to run a gallery rather than just being another couple of artists moaning about those who do…

So this particular episode/blog entry is a collection on random starts and notes from the gallery written during July (or maybe June), I did intend to pull it all together weeks ago, but hey, shows tp pull together, leafhearts to grow, artists to chase…

our corner of the street... the unofficial information centre

our corner of the street… the unofficial Vyner Street information centre

For the last ten or so months now we’ve acted like some kind of unofficial Vyner Street information service as we stand on our corner here in the middle of it all… “Yes that gallery over there is actually open, you have to ring the bell and give them a minute or so, they’re a little slow to answer sometimes and yes I know it looks closed, you’re right, they they don’t have a sign, but they really are honestly open and it is worth trying to get in”, “Yes, the Wilkinson gallery is still on the street, they’re behind those great big black doors at the bottom of the road, and yes, it does look a little unfriendly and kind of like they don’t actually want people to come in, beautiful space inside though…”, “no, you won’t find that gallery here anymore, your new freshly printed Time Out art map is out of date, they moved about two years ago, there’s a new gallery over there, and that one over there, and just over there, that green building, and yes it does keep changing, no thanks, don’t want a biscuit….”

There are times when they just can’t be ignored and I find myself compelled to stop them and at least demand they have a look at what Hada Contemporary have as they walk past our front door, nose in air, too intellectually aware of themselves to actually glance in case a piece of art bites them or something. There they scuttle, Wilkinson paperwork clutched in cold hands, talking art-ass rather then bothering to all the other galleries somehow beneath them. Now and again it has to be done., just jump out and say “hey, You really are missing out, curiosity never killed the cat and ”  most want to at least look and see through all the doors, both the wide open ones and the mysteriously shut ones, once they know where they are… And so many people tell us how they hate having to ring doorbells and would rather just not bother…

Today (whichever day these notes come from) was a stimulating day, steady flow of interesting people all day.  Some days people just come in and don’t say anything much, just politely look and then leave with a quiet thank you. Today there were lots of comments, a mini debate or two, good conversation a feeling that people were actually looking.  We had wired-up man in big glasses and a red coat who wanted to slate Damien Hirst, said he just had to vent at someone about him. Seems he had left Hirst’s “dreadfully poor” exhibition and decided to come down to Vyner Street for the first time because he’d heard this was the place to find something new, only to be “violently disgusted” by how “boringly conservative” the Wilkinson gallery was, “what a waste of a beautiful space”. He appeared to be a little happier after a visit to the Hong Sungchul show over at Hada Contemporary, although he did have a point about the natural need to focus on the technique rather than the actual image and how that could be a bit of a distraction – I guess you really need to go back several times. Angry man seemed reasonably positive about the way we were using our space at Cultivate, je seemed to almost agree that it is a scuzzy messy space, that it has to be a busy hang with lots of energy, he didn’t like everything of course, I really don’t expect anyone will, but he seemed to enjoy the flow of the show and picked one or two pieces. He calmed down enough to find time to say how impressed he was with Ed Haslam’s work (as so many do when they come in) before he launched in to an attack on the the National Portrait Gallery and how it should have been in their summer show – actually it got rejected, telling him that really did set the Jack Russell terrier of a man off again, he eventually stormed off muttering about all kinds of things that couldn’t quite be heard above the cranking of a big delivery lorry who’s engine had clearly enjoyed healthier days…

Several people going on about our open door policy and how intimidating they find galleries with no obvious signage, with doorbells you have to ring, and not being able to tell if the galleries, if they indeed are galleries, are open or not – I get that they maybe might feel they have security issues, but the lack of information, the unwelcoming front doors, the lack of a sign, hey, we’re an art gallery, you’re welcome to come in and enjoy what we have, almost like they don’t want us in there cluttering up their day. So today is was more

BLANK CANVAS

TODAY’S BLANK CANVAS, a wooden pallet found on the street

.  Dragged a packing pallet to the front of the gallery today, the sun was out and it was there on the street, abandoned and just demanding to be painted on, so the pallet became today’s ‘canvas’.  The piece is almost finished and drying in the gallery now, well no, not almost finished, far from finished, there waiting for tomorrow’s layer of growth…

“Oh look at this ****king ***hole, bless ‘im,, he’s painting out here on the street” said one of the bunch of cheap-cider-swilling gents waiting for their man again,

“shall we mug ‘im”,

“well you can try, but I do have this loaded can of cherry red spray paint here in my hand, want a taste?”

“He’s got a good point, we’re only joking mate, you’re okay, want some cider?”  “Nah thanks, I’ll stick with the glorious taste of Montana Gold..”,

“what is the point of all this crap anyway, seriously mate,, what is the point?”

What is the point indeed? You’ve got to love your local crackheads haven’t you? Today we encountered the first people willing to confess they were in the country for the Olympics, a couple from France who with rather taken by Lisa (Johnny Doe’s now rather decayed very deep purple-looking red cabbage), and a couple of Americans asking lots and lots of questions about East London and street art and what should we ask for if we go in the inn over there?  I had taxi drivers making Brian Sewellian comments as they passed, locals stopping for chats and coming in to the gallery, so many of them tell me they never go in to any of the other galleries around here, how they feel intimidated by them. The other day an extremely polite middle aged man in a suit asked if he may come on and then told be how he loved to draw as a kid but his folks in Nigeria got in a witchdoctor to stop him drawing and now he sometimes he finds himself doodling when he’s on the phone and how he wished he could draw and paint, and how he’s been wanting to come in and tell me how he always looks through the door and how it makes his both very happy and very sad.   “Oh dear, spray paint is so passe” said one passer by on her way to another gallery today….

PALLET LEAVES

Blank pallet once the leaves have grown… (Sean Worrall – July 2012)

Well actually all that was yesterday, today is was a whole team of traffic wardens and wheel clampers in a filthy-looking truck, the type that picks up your car and takes it away, who stopped and piled out of said truck, which, may I add, they illegally parked, so they could come over and take photos and declare it all to be “well cool blood, that is well radical man, do some more while we watch”. Must say, in the current climate, what with anyone who ever went anywhere near a can of spray paint in East London being pulled in by the Olympic police right now –

                 Darren Cullen is also barred from owning paint or using most public transport as part of pre-emptive police crackdown. When Adidas wanted to create a mural to illustrate the launch of its new football boot last year, it turned to “professional graffiti artist” Darren Cullen for help. Cullen, 38, runs a firm providing spraycan artwork and branding to major international companies, and says he has never painted illegally on a wall or train. But despite having worked with one of the Games’s major sponsors, on Tuesday Cullen was arrested by British Transport Police (BTP) and barred from coming within a mile of any Olympic venue, as part of a pre-emptive sweep against a number of alleged graffiti artists before the Olympics

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2012/jul/18/graffiti-artist-adidas-banned-olympic

Here we go, who are these uniforms in a van shouting at me? Well you don’t expect it to be traffic wardens shouting about spray paint do you?

Well Nicola sent a polite thank you type reply, others aren’t quite so polite, but there you go.   I might put one or two of these e.mail conversation things I have with people when we have to tell they’re art is not going to be featured up on the gallery wall of the next show, without the ‘rejected’ artists names on them of course…  This Your Call show might be a very very busy in terms of the art on the walls, we might go over the top, and we need a TV with the Olympics on all the time…  might make a sign that reads “This is not the Wilkinson gallery, please don’t come in”, all far too polite this gallery stuff, easy to get all cynical about it all, why don’t the people who go to Wilkinson’s ever smile?

“I MAKE ART TO MAKE MYSELF LESS CYNICAL, TO MAKE MYSELF MORE HAPPY WITH THE WORLD AROUND ME”

So said Jeremy just now and the thing I like about this street is that we have the grit and not much of the glamour, we do have the brutal beauty down this street… the Fitzrovia streets do not run with taxi oil and sculptor’s plaster, with re-up tantrums when the man is late. One year is almost up on the street. Today has mostly been used up on the never ending Cultivate administration, the art selection, the unpleasant task of gentle rejection and one year feels like just about long enough now…

Here’s a bit I wrote the other Thursday, a random Thursday, might have been last Thursday, certainly wasn’t First Thursday….

We’ve got some sun at last, another Thursday down Vyner Street, just a random Thursday, not the one at the start of the month, there’s people sitting outside their galleries, there’s visitors walking around with their gallery guides in hand, there’s people going about their working day, you’ve got yer white delivery van man, yer postman, oil-covered taxi mechanic, people with places to go and people to see, all with phone in hand, occasionally one of them glances up from their screen to see what’s around them, Dan Kitchener’s  big New York street scene up there on the wall just caught the eye of one of said passing workmen momentary freed from his iPhone screen…

“I’m late mate, but I ‘ad to stop, that is a brilliant painting”

There’s a fashion shoot going on outside, she’s wearing unreasonably high heels, so high she can’t walk by herself, and how many people does it need to take a photo anyway? Tony Two-vans is outside the pub broadcasting his shady business again as he barks down his dog – dog and bone, phone, Twovans is a geezer, does he know we can hear his every shady word over here in the gallery?

“Yeah, Twovans here, I got your stuff, don’t ask questions mate, do yer want it or not?  I’m outside the pub ain’t I, yes I’ve got it ‘ere, have you got the dosh or am I wasting my bleedin’ time?

And the new Matt Roberts Gallery looks all closed down again, signs gone, doors locked, wonder what that man actually does? Really not sure what’s going on there? There’s group of polite American tourists in here right now, happily discussing the art and pointing out that they didn’t come to London to look at New York street scenes, there is only one New York street scene in here today, they might have a point, what the hell, it does rather catch the eye, somebody in a big black look-at-me Range Rover just pulled up outside, is his number plate really EGO 2? The Americans have bought one of my small canvas paintings, a leafheart (another bloody leafheart) a souvenir of London street art to take back home they say, not sure if that’s what I had in mind but hey

LONDON: YOUR CALL

LONDON: YOUR CALL

“Do you know why the Wilkinson gallery is closed? I looked on line and it said they were open today?” It is open, they just don’t look like they are, you have to ring the doorbell and wait, “Is it that big black door?” “Yes, the very big one with no sign, there’s a little tiny notice on the side, just ring the bell”  High heel photo shoot girl is being made to stand in all the beautiful black oily grime of the taxi garage now, that garage really is such a good looking place, until they get their barbeque going that is, then it becomes a place to avoid at all costs, rashers of burnt up bacon in all the engine grease, and they wonder why no one wants to come in and share it with them – “hey pretty girl, you want some food?”

So what is going to happen during the Olympics then, no one really knows,. We’ve had enough media in here, my suspicion is the street will be deserted, there might be people here for sport and they might head for the Tower of London or some really obvious tourist destination on their day off, but surely everyone else is going to stay well away, what is going to happen? Your call….

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