Saturday, 28 September 2013

Before I Die...

What do you want to achieve before you die?

I only ask because I was on my way to meet a friend last week, and came across this interesting Before I Die... installation. The graphic qualities of the old shopfront caught my eye, and on closer inspection, I saw the shop front had been painted with blackboard paint, and the words Before I Die... stencilled in rows. There were sticks of chalk available for anybody to write in the spaces what they hoped to achieve before they die.

I was intrigued and loved some of the responses which ranged from the sad/poignant to the very funny. 

We wandered a little further and came across another Before I Die... site, again plastered with the hopes and dreams ordinary members of the public want to achieve before they die. 

I looked up Before I Die... online and found the website, background story, and what a worldwide phenomenon the Before I Die... installations/movement is becoming. The creator of Before I Die... describes her story thus:-

"It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget what really matters to you. After I lost someone I loved very much, I thought about death a lot. This helped clarify my life, the people I want to be with, and the things I want to do, but I struggled to maintain perspective. I wondered if other people felt the same way. So with help from old and new friends, I painted the side of an abandoned house in my neighborhood in New Orleans with chalkboard paint and stenciled it with a grid of the sentence “Before I die I want to _______.” Anyone walking by could pick up a piece of chalk, reflect on their lives, and share their personal aspirations in public space.
It was an experiment and I didn’t know what to expect. By the next day, the wall was bursting with handwritten responses and it kept growing: Before I die I want to… sing for millions, hold her one more time, eat a salad with an alien, see my daughter graduate, abandon all insecurities, plant a tree, straddle the International Date Line, be completely myself…  People’s responses made me laugh out loud and they made me tear up. They consoled me during my toughest times. I understood my neighbors in new and enlightening ways, and the wall reminded me that I’m not alone as I try to make sense of my life."
Read more about it here

I think the Before I Die... installations are a brilliant idea and they remind me of the Postsecret postcards phenomena which I'm also a fan of, that has been running for years. The two Before I Die... examples I came across are in the London Bridge/Borough area of London. I would love to know if anybody else has come across any other Before I Die... sites in London, or other cities across the UK.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Catalan Graffiti

Examples of street art recorded recently in Barcelona....

The next pictures are of graffiti carved into the trees in Parc Ciutadella.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Little Blue Birds

Here are some more blue birds, albeit on a smaller scale, and more humble setting than Katharina Fritsch's Hahn/Cock currently on display in Trafalgar Square. These wrought-iron gates can be found in East Dulwich an area I happen to frequent often. The birds and foliage always bring a smile to my face and remind me of my own bird pieces.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Big Blue Bird

I was in Trafalgar Square the other day and was able to see the latest in the series of the long line of Fourth Plinth commissions, Hahn/Cock 2013, by Katharina Fritsch. The piece is 4.72 m high, and is her fibre-glass rendition of a domestic farmyard cockerel. Fritsch is one of Germany's leading contemporary artists and I have seen, and admired, her out-sized, monochromatic, animal sculptures before at Tate Modern.

I really like this piece. It is beautifully modelled and the colour is stunning, adding some much needed colour to the greyness of Trafalgar Square. I also love the scale, absurdity, and contrasting subject matter of this sculpture in comparison to the other formal military statues on display in Trafalgar Square.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Blue Moon

I hope you enjoyed the lovely music and visuals of Puccini's Madame Butterfly in my last post. My work is now also being exhibited at the Blue Moon Gallery in Tunbridge Wells. I have just delivered a new version of Madame Butterfly which they are exhibiting (with other pieces of mine), alongside an exhibition of artworks drawn from the estate of Donald Hamilton Fraser RA, which opens on Saturday 14th September.

Contact the gallery for Private View invites. Blue Moon Gallery is a short journey from central London, past the lavender fields and oast houses of Kent - the garden of England.

Blue Moon Gallery, 18 Camden Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN1 2PT  Tel: 01892 540100