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

March 1999

This offering was the first of several to include an “interactive” component.   I took a metal box that I had made at work (designed to be a fire alarm cover), and filled it with soil, planted some flowers in the soil and placed a toy hippopotamus into the scene.

If you examine the images below, on the right hand side of the frame is what I would call an electronic song player (framed in red), that I cut out of a children’s book.  The book was an intro to Christianity for kids, so all of the songs that played were popular Christian “sing-alongs” (Such as “Rise and Shine” and “The bible tells me so”).  I have and Aunt and Uncle who are born again, they gave me the book on the occasion of my child's birth.  I replaced the religious imagery with pictures of my own to confuse the curious.  Each photo, when pressed, would play a ten second song.  

At one point during the offering some kind stranger put a safety pin through the hippo’s nose, I thought that was lovely.  I also overheard a couple of fellows listening intently to the songs, pressing each button, until one finally said “I think those are Christian songs”!

I began a habit of taking photos of my son in front of each offering with this box.  Watch how he grows throughout the years!  I love him so!

Box installed

My son, aged twenty months, with box.

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