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

August 2006

At certain points in my life I have spent a lot of time drawing.  I have a doodling style that involves geometric shapes, arcs, lines, curves and the spaces in between, all coloured with pencil crayons.  I leave most of the space blank and empty.  It is neat and ordered with psychedelic overtones. 

I had an overabundance of drawings that I needed to get out of my system. I decided to do hundreds of small doodles on pieces of cardstock weight paper and place them in envelopes, which were also adorned with a doodle.  Finally, to flesh out the envelope space, I entered into a calaborative process with my then 8 year old son.

This was indeed very fullfilling, working with my young child to construct a work of art which could then be shared with the community.  It was a labour of love.  Fortunately, my son was a prolific cartoonist at the the time.  He had mounds of paper with drawings and stories all over them.  He and I gathered them into semi-coherent themes and placed a few in each envelope.

The box that held all of the offerings was found along the banks of the Coquitlam River one rainy day.  I rescued it and gave it a new purpose.

All of the envelopes were gone only two days after they had been put up.  Some of the things that people left:

  • Three lovely offering boxes with gifts inside of them (boxes pictured)one of the boxes had a heart with the words “el Corazon” emblazoned on it. One also had a loonie inside it, placed by, Anon.
  • Two young girls named Sasha and Elizabeth re-used 6 of the envelopes and put their own drawings and stories inside.  They wrote sweet tales and warmed my heart with their imagination and spirit.
  • A stranger left  a bottle of hemp-peppermint soap.
  • I received a very funny envelope in which someone set some of my son’s drawings to their own humorous poem.

Box installed

A few samples of the envelope and insert drawings

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