My day has been dictated by the weather and thrown me into a black hole of unpredictability. My plan was to cycle across Walsall and explore the Barr Beacon but once again, it has been cancelled due to this freak weather! My friends say the awful summer is down to global warming, others say it’s typical British weather but I can whole-heartedly say this summer has been a total washout! Sun, rain, hail and sun, all in the space of five minutes! This fluctuating madness is offering me too many options. Do I cycle with or without waterproofs? Do I strap cameras onto my bike? Are my cameras waterproof, if not is this the right time to test them? Should I wear sun cream or an overcoat! These aren’t the sort of questions an artist would readily ask. But, alas, when you’ve opted to become a ‘cycling artist’ anything goes, especially the weather. One thing for sure, nothing can be pre-planned, journeys happen organically, which is ‘for sure’ one of the best weapons for an artist.
I woke up this morning in high spirits, eager to jump onto my bicycle and seek out my next adventure. The sun was shining and my hay fever was streaming, predicting a dry day ahead. I was hoping to cycle to Walsall and recount the story of Charles Holland. Charles Holland was the first British man to compete in the Tour de France and represented the country during the Olympics in 1932 and 1936. A true local hero. In his memoirs, he recalls cycling up to the Barr Beacon and enjoying the view thinking about his accomplishments. I have gathered many stories about the Barr Beacon. Residents have similarly disclosed melancholic experiences, sharing fond memories about family outings and enthusiastic courtships.
Looking out my living room window, I decided to take a chance with the weather and left my Birmingham home for the Barr Beacon. Cycling through the city, I was on the home straight until the clouds broke my pace and threw me into a torrent of rain. I dipped my head in misery, wading through puddles of water, gritting my teeth each time a lorry drove past and drenched me. I didn’t suffer alone. My despair was mirrored in the faces of the cricket supporters. I cycled past huge crowds walking towards Edgbaston cricket ground. They looked cumbersome carrying what seemed to be their entire homes in each arm. I cycled past an array of picnic baskets, coolers, chairs, blankets and several mandatory ‘tornado resistant’ umbrellas. Cricket supporters are resilient. Well versed with the British weather, they bring absolutely everything they need to withstand every climate eventuality.
I reached my studio at the Jewellery Quarter, sodden and uninspired. I had a change of clothes, which cheered me up but once again the weather had changed in an instant. The sun decided to make an appearance. Like watching the late arrival of a Best man at a wedding, I was both relieved and angered at the same time!
Plagued with the decision to cycle to the Barr Beacon, I quickly reassessed my options. Do I get the train to New Street station, or do I stay in my studio and create some work. Within a shadow of that thought, a grey cloud appeared and I made my decision. I will stay in my studio today and work on my new ‘Cycle Dialogues Walsall’ film. Undoubtedly the best plan of the day.
19 different ideas to choose from! You can vote now. Simply enter your comment below the chosen idea. Please, don’t cheat and vote just for your one idea!
Paint + run = create instant exhibition
Idea: A day filled with paintball sessions on 3rd floor (temporary show space) open to everybody (NOTE: painters welcome).
The marks on the walls will create a documentation of the event as well as create an instant massive painting. Ideal timing for the paintball to happen: changeover!
James Bond – find the bad guy!
Red Alert – 3rd floor is your battlefield
See one get one free – on all art experiences!
Idea: Cover as many gallery windows as possible with big SALE signs and give each visitor as he/she enters a shopping basket. Sale signs & baskets will create link between the high street and the gallery, as shopping (and sales!) is a common experience.
During the walk around the gallery people will not be able to fill their baskets with any objects (apart from purchases from the shop), however internal spaces of gallery (corridors/ entrances to the exhibition spaces, toilets, lifts) will be filled with advert like signs saying: See great art & think about it! Clean your hands & soul! Etc.
See it all in 15 minutes!
Idea: Very quick tour of the gallery for all who are always short of time. Japanese style tour that concentrates only on main pieces by main artists (MUST SEE!). The tour leader has with him/her a watch and sticks to time. People are given approx 20 seconds to contemplate each MUST SEE art work.
Exhibitions at children level
Idea: Children can appreciate great art; unfortunately galleries are not making it easy for them. Great artworks are hanged at an adult eyesight height, far above average 4 years old eyes height. Why not to exhibition collection on lower plinths and closer to the ground so it responds to children’s height and encourages adults to see the world as their children do (all these exposed shins & ankles).
Improve you CV during a single afternoon
Idea: An afternoon filled with useful information about curating and it’s daily chores. Create a perfect label, learn about pleasures & difficulties of working with dead & living artists.
Master your hanging artwork skills and befriend a spirit level. Colour schemes (do browns & yellows go together?). The sessions finishes with the practical hanging session (potentially linked with Artist – CV boost)
Improve you CV during a single afternoon
Idea: Exhibit your work in a good company and have you CV instantly improved. During one afternoon artists would be encouraged to bring with them a piece of their work to the gallery and hang it/exhibit it for a minute (timed) next to i.e. Picasso’s work.
Be in your colleague shoes!
Idea: For one day swap sits with your colleagues. Sit in the director’s chair, be in curator’s shoes, try on gallery assistant’s smile, clean the toilet so it shines! For a day take responsibilities of the others, answer their mail and phone calls, deal with the conversation, shorten their to-do list and SURVIVE!
Art is money
Idea: The tour concentrates on financial value of the certain artwork as much as other elements of the gallery décor, i.e. wooden panels.
Which piece of art is most expensive? What is the value of Epstein’s work at auctions these days? What is the most valuable part of the gallery in monetary terms?
Forget the art, concentrate on figures.