The birth of my child was a joyous occasion and filled me with an overwhelming creative impulse that desperately needed an outlet. Being naturally predisposed to a distrust of artists and their lackeys (promoters, producers, gallery owners, etc.) and outright contempt for the paradigm of art as a commodity (combined with my fear of failure and rejection), I set out to create a work of art that would appear for a brief time in the public sphere, anonymous, unannounced, free of expectation, and open to the world.

I entered into this realm with no long term plan or vision, I just needed to create something and share it with strangers, friends or whoever happened to be passing by my little corner of the world. So I picked a random spot, a telephone pole on the corner of Salsbury and Parker in East Vancouver, (I lived in a house on this corner from 1997-1999). It has been 13 years now, I try to put up at least one work every year, sometimes I manage two. They only last for a few days at most, I put them up before dawn and take them down late at night when their store of goods has been exhausted. It took a few years before I settled on a theme; the works always contain gifts of some sort, an opportunity for exchange, or just a random trinket for someone to take away.

May 1998, the first one didn’t last long . I had worked at it for days prior to its presentation. Painstakingly drawing and painting, I even included some copper work in its final form. To describe it would be difficult; inside a small metal box, there was a Smurf with a chainsaw, against a background depicting a clearcut forest, stumps and logs scattered around the landscape. I believe I featured the words, “Coming Soon” as the banner to my creation. It was up for less than 4 hours. A person with no respect for public art?, or perhaps a zealous patron of the arts? Someone pilfered it, though I never discovered whom. I preferred to imagine that someone was so taken by it that they had to have it at any cost, even if it meant crossing the line into criminal activity. This thought made me very happy, and encouraged me to do more.

Please have a look at the works through the years, and if you or someone you know has had an experience with them, please comment. Tell me your story, what you found, what you left, how it affected your day or your life.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

May 2010

Two years in between boxes, another long gap, busier, busier, but I did manage to create my most ambitious offering yet. 

Over the course of two years I created approximately 210 short films, ranging in length from 30 seconds to 3 minutes.  I referred to each film as an “excerpt”, a grain of someone or something’s life, no beginning or end or context with which to interpret the film’s action.  Very few of the films (perhaps 20-30) had an actual narrative structure with people “acting”, most were documentary style, or simply, documents of an unknown time and place; all events witnessed incomplete.  The viewer constructs the thread, future, past and present.

I took 70 CD’s and copied three films onto each disc.  I also added between 3-5 songs on each CD; all songs were from my collection, I did not compose any music for them.  I used cardboard CD covers and created original artwork for each CD, adding a unique title, original drawings, prints and photographs.  I also printed unique CD labels for each disc using original photographs from my collection.  Samples of all work and the box itself can be seen below.

This was the first time that all of the gifts had been taken in a single day.  As my notes state, all of the gifts were gone by 1730hr!  This was somewhat of an anti climax for me, as I enjoy all of the many incarnations that appear in the offering space over the course of a few days, which is normally how long the boxes are up for.

May 2010 Box notes
  Box went up on Saturday May 8, 2010 at 0500hr
·         First gift left behind was a coin from Czech Republic
·         Overheard two gentlemen on the street discussing “the present box” as they called it.
·         1730hr all CD’s gone. 
·         Two cassette tapes and 1 bracelet left in exchange
·         Two pieces of gum and one paper star
·         A lovely wrapped gift box with a ring inside
·         Martin from red square salon left his card

CD cover

CD inside

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