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.

Friday, 21 October 2011

September 2004

I loved this box, it was a joy to make and featured a very amusing push button toy song box.

This one took a few months to make as I hand constructed approximately 80 original books to place as offerings in the box.  I am an avid photographer, and as such I have thousands and thousands of photos in my collection, most of which never see the light of day.  This always troubled me, so I took the opportunity to use up hundreds of photos in the books I made. 

As you can see from the accompanying images, each book was small (approximately 10 centimetres by 13 centimetres).  Each book had 10 pages, on each page was one photograph, or a cropped part of a photograph.  Each book also contained some text, most had just one bit of text at the back, but a few had some other bits scattered throughout the book.  As usual I took bits of songs, poem, prose I fancied and used them as the “messages” within the books pages.  I also worked with my Grandmothers poetry extensively, even composing a few lines with her, such as:

Like light your kisses hover                             
Under darkness
Bodies supine discovered


Earth to her ancient privilege


I cannot recall who wrote which lines, which makes me glad.

The books were bound using Chicago screws.  They were placed on the offering box, which was bound on each side by miniature columns that had Nordic runes burnt into them.  I also added a small tray filled with sand and incense at the front of the box so that passers by could make fire and scent. The song box was attached above the offering box and covered with wood so that only the buttons were visible.  I cannot recall what the song box “said”, but it was a mish-mash of words which I can assure you were utterly hilarious.

Unfortunately, on the third day of the offering, some grumpy soul smashed the song box open and stole the electronic voice box!  How dare they!  Perhaps it was a neighbor who had grown tired of the sound, or a curious thug. Damn them, that box was so funny!

Lastly, a most wondrous gift was left behind in this box, a gift that still pleasantly torments me to this day.  It was a poem, a message complete with someone’s name and phone number.  Written in Farsi, the poem is shown here as written.  I do not speak or read Farsi, but I had an Iranian friend (S Sadr) who attempted to translate it for me.  He had some troubles, as, according to him, whoever wrote the poem used very poor grammar and spelling.  He was only able to do a rough translation (shown here as well).

Apparently the poem was written by a Megan Foroogh (according to S Sadr), as she had signed her name.  I called the number and left a message but no one ever returned my call, oh woe, who was this person, my soul mate perhaps?  Who did this, someone please tell me!

Books prepared

Box installed

Incense tray in front

The song box

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