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

December 2003

Christmas time!  For this offering I put together a solid wooden box, complete with a miniature Christmas tree inside.  I chose to cover the box with a woven place mat that had been hanging around in my kitchen for many years.  I have no idea where it came from, the design seems to suggest the South West of North America.  I attached it to provide shelter for my gifts from the inevitable winter rains.

Many gifts were exchanged.  I received some straws, action figures, a lovely die-cast toy car.  The gifts that I left in the box were all contained inside 24 separate boxes that came from a Playmobil advent calendar set.  What I put inside the boxes I cannot recall, damn why did I not takes better notes!  The symbol I painted on the side of the box came from a book titled “The Encyclopedia of Celtic Wisdom”  The symbol itself is known as – The Awen - which is said to be the name by which the universe calls God inwardly. The Awen is said to represent the letters OIU, from which all the others are obtained. The O relates to the perfect circle of Gwynvyd, the  I to the mortal world, Abred, and the U to the cauldron of Annwn. They relate to earth, sea and air; body, mind and spirit; and love, wisdom and truth.

The three foundations of Awen are:

To understand truth
To love truth
To maintain truth.

My son gazes at the offering

The gifts I left

The things people leave behind

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