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

April 2002

For this box I decided to share a little bit of the earth with the curious.  My original intention was to grow, from seed, around 80-100 flowers of various types.  I set about germinating them indoors in early February so that they would be ready by spring.  Unfortunately things went badly, I do not have a green thumb, and by mid-April I had managed to sprout only a dozen feeble, sickly looking plants that were in no danger of flowering.

Discouraged, but not defeated, I turned to the professionals.  I ended up purchasing all of the flowers to be gifted from a garden centre.  Not quite what I had hoped, but at least I had some flowers to present. 

This box was made from scrap wood found in an alley. I first constructed a planter box, filled it dirt and planted some violets in it.  I also made two shelves, one along the front of the box where I left gifts of flowers to be taken away, and another shelf on the side, where I placed incense and matches for the curious to light and say a blessing if they wished.

I made no notes about the events surrounding the box, although I do recall standing by the box while an elderly woman took a few containers of flowers.  I believe she said to me “more flowers, how lovely, you should take some”.  I left the flower box with the violets up for a week and a half, long after I had run out of flowers to offer.

Box installed, incense burning, flowers blooming

L and her daughter examine the offering

My son, and friends

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