Bounds Green Art Trail- Please leave the art works until the end of the exhibition.

Hi,

I've been installing today an exhibition in the streets, cafes, bars and shops of Bounds Green. I wanted to bring art to local people, especially that many of the works are of local views.  

But few hours after I've been installing the exhibition, many posters were removed!

I've been working on this exhibition for over a month, putting a lot of thought and sparing no expense on it.  You can imagine how disappointing it will be for you to walk from one spot to another not finding the art work that is suppose to be there.

The exhibition is running between 26/6- 18/7 and will be removed at the end.
If it is you who is taking down the posters, PLEASE don't do it. Please leave this on until the end of the exhibition.

If you know who is doing this please ask them not to do it. 

Thank you,

Gabriela

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Dear Dave

I completely agree about the corporate advertising - it's hugely intrusive and makes you sick. However it is not generally permitted to place those huge boards in domestic streets - councils would never allow it. They tend to be placed in places that are already degraded, such as major roads and junctions, where the assumption will be that your enjoyment of your environment could not get any lower.

Following the pointing out of what is not permitted, it is not my duty to provide alternative suggestions although I will certainly have a think.

Geoffrey - while it may not be your "duty" to suggest alternatives, you did raise the suggestion that there are alternatives, and thus I'm inviting you to place yourself in the position of an artist who might wish to exhibit locally, consider what these alternatives might be, in practice, and contemplate ways in which you might manage to exhibit while not ending up significantly out of pocket for doing so. (Please read the reply I've just made to John Mellor's post, where I spell out the realities of exhibiting in many local venues)

Dave, Geoffrey  I too agree that hideous advertising billboards create visual pollution to promote corporate crap and I too agree that connecting locality and art - via site specific installations or art that contributes to "place making" - is a desirable thing.

However, Dave, I think you make the point very well that there is often a significant cost to exhibiting ... reliable galleries and exhibition spaces such as those public buildings you cite - or more locally The Step - need to cover their costs of display, hospitality, security and insurance. (Incidentally as Grayson Perry  pointed out in the  2013 Reith Lectures Playing to the Gallery some work is only described as "Art" because it is in a gallery space).

The discussion here is about an "exhibition" in public space done "on the cheap" - posters that have been self-described as art (more correctly facsimiles of art work) being distributed around the area with a desire for people to share their existence on social media to win a prize.  Geoffrey you applaud the "excellent motives" I remain skeptical. These "artworks" have been displayed alongside or have taken the form of advertising for a commercial service - drawing classes.

If permission has been neither sought nor given by the local authority these pieces are no different from any other illegal advertising - irrespective of the intent of the person posting them (or at least the artistic potion of their intent ... the desire to advertise for commercial gain is identical).

I would love to see dedicated local spaces for public art - and like the history display in the Community Gym - this could really improve our local environment. I would welcome more art and creative expression in the neighbourhood - but perhaps like the community volunteers who created dedicated display space local artists and entrepreneurs should identify a space with permission first before laying a moral claim to every tree, fence and lampost.

Having not seen the posters I had no idea that they were the taster for a commercial enterprise. I entirely concur with your final sentence and I am disappointed that this thread started with a post which did not mention this. Hmmm!

However, Dave, I think you make the point very well that there is often a significant cost to exhibiting ... reliable galleries and exhibition spaces such as those public buildings you cite - or more locally The Step - need to cover their costs of display, hospitality, security and insurance.

Sorry, John, but I'm not letting that go unchallenged. Most of these local exhibition spaces are multi-function, and I want the public to know that when they see exhibitions in local venues such as cafes, that the costs to the artist are often considerable.

Let me analyse it a bit further for you, as its clear you do not understand. Cafe type venues, local libraries etc have foot-traffic, they bring in an audience, but that audience is not generally greatly interested in purchasing paintings.

What the venue gets out of it is a changing series of wall decorations which have cost them nothing.

The artist, on the other hand, has either to pay up front for the privilege of a public venue (which is NOT the same thing as proper gallery representation, where a good gallery EARNS its percentage by maintaining, and actively marketing to, a mailing list of collectors who ARE interested in buying pieces of art, building relationships between artists and collectors) - or gives the venue up to 50% of the price of a rare sale - which leaves the artist covering not only the costs of materials, framing etc for the work which did sell, but also for all the rest of the exhibited works too.

The net effect of this is that it is very easy for the artist to end up seriously out of pocket from such an exhibition, while the venue at least gains free wall decorations, the "prestige of encouraging local art" from patrons who don't know any better, and clear profit from anything the artist does manage to sell.

THIS is why alternative ways of getting art out in front of the public are required.

Dear Dave,

Thanks for your comment. Please have a look at a long general reply I added.

Gabriela

Dear John,

Thanks for your comment. Please have a look at a long general reply I added.

Gabriela

Hello everyone, and thanks very much for taking the time to comment about this matter. I will try to answer all the issues that were raised here.

 

Some people have suggested that the only reason I’m doing this art trail is to advertise my art courses - this is not true.

My primary motives for doing the art trail was to connect with local community, to experience exhibiting in a non-traditional space, create a happening in the area, show art works that show local views, promote other local businesses, and yes, also to make my courses known to people who are interested in art. All of this I was hoping to achieve in the least obtrusive manner.

 

First I would like to point out that there are only 10 posters all over Bounds Green that are actually on lamp posts.  3 other posters are on noticeboards, and the rest are 12 original art works in venues in Bounds Green, some of which are new to the area and  I hope can benefit from the exposure to new audiences that otherwise would not have known about them. 

There is also a work at the Tunnel Gardens (BTW, do you know where it is?) which invites the viewer to just sit and enjoy the place without doing anything else.

 

Some people who are doing this tour are families that take their kids for an adventure. Others, are people who are interested in art and will pick up the trail map, naturally they are people who may be also interested in my art lessons.

 

The last group of people who are doing the trail are those who have rarely been to an art gallery and this is an accessible way to enjoy seeing art. Art is a form of communication, I think it should give something to the viewer.

 

As an artist, I enjoy exploring different exhibition environments. I exhibit in pop up spaces, galleries and museums (my next show will be at the Geffrye Museum with a panorama of my street which is included as a poster in the art trail).  What I find is that in traditional exhibition spaces there is less engagement with the public. I am aiming to reach people who are not only from the art world. Therefore, exhibiting in a form of posters, making people take a stroll in a hidden nature gem, seemed a nice way of engaging with them.  

A large part of my art deals with how we are not engaging with our environment because we are constantly absorbed by our smartphone.  Making people look and be present is a vital part of my message.  

 

As for winning the prize by sharing my work on social media; much of my work refers to consumerism and social media and the way we seek a quick gratification of being ‘Liked’, being noticed by other people. In this case, I’m playing a game with the public. A trail map usually has a prize, and since many of the works deal with social media I thought that playing with sharing works on it, goes along with the themes I’m interested in.    

As far the flyposting I’ve been in touch in recent months with local councilors and community representatives to install notice boards to the benefit of local businesses.

,Just before I end this, this is what I received this evening from someone who has done the trail

.... has put a smile on my face.  I have lived in Muswell Hill for 20 years and until today had never been to Tunnel Gardens (like a walk in the countryside), Myddelton Road (like a trip to another country), or inside either the Ranelagh or Springfield pubs.  The walk would have been worth it even without the art trail - but with it was so much better.  Well done!  What a great idea!

 

I’ve not tried to upset or inconvenience the local residents, and I guarantee that at the end of this art trail I will remove every last trace of it.

 

Enjoy the trail.

 

I think the art trail is a good idea, but I do not like to see the many other illegal flyposting in the area (Yoga, Pilates, Salsa, We Buy Scrap Cars, Club nights, Marquee Hire, etc) It looks shabby and it is against the law (however "wholesome" the business is), just like littering. I think these kind of posters should be on local notice boards only.

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