Above Image: Kids get stuck in with collages
The 48Sheet Space at the Mailbox was filled with a flurry of torn up magazines, newspapers and old books on Saturday as 48Sheet artist Elizabeth Rowe hosted one of her fabulous collage parties. To the sounds of a DJ set by the artist herself, children and adults of all ages were busy tearing, gluing and cutting to create all manor of collaged images that were then displayed around the walls of the space. Every surface was covered with scraps of paper, which was an explosion of inspiration for budding artists and collage-phobes alike.
Photographs by Leah Carless
Words by Cat Dickie
Above Image: cyclists leave the mailbox with bags of art
A swarm of cyclists descended upon Birmingham city centre on Saturday armed with free art. Papergirl Kate Grundy has spent weeks collecting the work from budding artists, putting it on display in the 48sheet space at the Mailbox, and eventually rolling it up into delightful parcels to be handed out to passers-by.
Bike upon bike could be seen at the Mailbox, with a whole team of volunteers turning up to help distribute the art. The project has just exploded across Birmingham, and Papergirl would like to thank everyone who contributed artwork and those who helped to distribute it on Saturday.
For more photos and information about papergirl, click here for her facebook page.
Above Image: Papergirl and her trusty bike
Above Image: cyclists depart from the Mailbox
Photographs by Leah Carless
Words by Cat Dickie
Log’s thoughts on his amazing billboard:
My submission was to be a hand drawn and hand made billboard inspired by Digbeth, the area I work in at the Custard Factory. Once the industrial heart of the city, now creative quarter and long established home of Birmingham’s Irish community. My board is basically a portrait of a local hero, Lord Rowton, a Victorian philanthropist responsible for the Rowton Houses, decent affordable accommodation for poor workers (in Digbeths case often Irish migrant workers) and down and outs. I constructed the piece on old ply hand drawn signs, inspired by the old industrial buildings, factories and workshops of the area, some still with old hand painted logos and adverts. Each “sign” is made up from snippets of quotes, dates and plans of the original Rowton House, now the Paragon Hotel’.
The Quotes are from George Orwell who wrote extensively on the hard times of the poor and destitute and mentions a Rowton house in London in his book down and out in Paris and London.
“Serenity is impossible to a poor man in a cold country”
“How sweet the air does smell — even the air of a back-street in the suburbs — after the shut-in, subfaecal stench of the spike!”
‘ If you have no money, men won’t care for you, women won’t love you; won’t, that is, care for you or love you the last little bit that matters.”
Finally the large hand drawn portrait of the man himself, added over the top of the signs, a few Posca pens, a blister, paint and one achy arm and he’s finished!
Text by Paul Wright. 48Sheet writer-in-residence. April 2012
Walking and looking (part one of three)
A quick insight into what happens when walking and looking are made political acts…
Birmingham is a city of two-million. It’s a place where local and regional artists sit alongside large corporate advertising – and they’re vying for your attention! It’s a city of artistic enterprise and social tradition held together by a pedestrianized commercial centre. The philosophy backing up 48Sheet – a sprawling public art project – involves staging walking and cycle routes around the city. The point being to render a minds-eye collage of the city. This type of civic-minded activity recalls the fertile nomadic practices of the fluxus city- happenings of the 70’s. Back then, artists unearthed poetic statements by carving up decaying buildings, and stumbled on joyous moments by getting the public to join in with their musically-rhythmic performances.
This type of happening pioneered re-engagement both for artist and the public with what was already there in their cities. This year, 48Sheet reimagines a fluxus-happening, this time on the streets of Birmingham. The invitation is for the public and they’re being asked to ‘encounter art in a public space’. It’s an opportunity to reengage with the poetry and joy of the city. The project combines flamboyant gestures of art with the human-ized activities of walking and looking.
Walking provides scope to reengage with parts of the city once forgotten and looking becomes an act of critical engagement. Putting art in an advertising space may make us once again critical of the advertising billboard space; but also don’t forget to look at the urban landscape around these sites. By using art in this way 48Sheet encourages advertisers to see us as more than just puppet-consumer-spectators with a buck in our back pocket.
We have feelings and desires beyond that. And walking and looking brings us closer to exploring those feelings. The project offers a way for us to alter our beliefs about how we want to engage in our city. Jane Wernick of the campaigning organisation Building Futures says that the best projects get people ‘to smile, stop and ponder, to generate memory. To develop a reaction. Or simply see anew a place that has dropped out of our view’. Walking, or better still, wondering around and looking are purposeful activities that help us do this.
And as part of the series 48sheet boundary people,
let me introduce Michael Clulee –
48Sheet boundary person: Michael Clulee (student and artist)
Michael Clulee’s feet appear in the image at the top of the post. 48Sheet is partly about art and also getting people to fee more free to wander through parts of the city seldom encountered. Yesterday student Michael Clulee popped into the 48Sheet project space yesterday. For me, the activity of being 48Sheet’s writer-in-residence means finding nice ways to tell the story of 48Sheet beyond the boundaries of the project. I think this picture says so much about Michael’s approach to his artwork. You can get an idea of his interest in cosmic imagery on his website.
Michael’s story related to 48Sheet. He is a student at Solihull college where I worked teaching graphic design many years before moving to take a teaching post in London. Michael told me that he nearly submitted work to this edition of 48Sheet. Yet didn’t have time and had instead devoted his concentration to making his end-of-year college show.
The picture below shows Michael Clulee as a one-man walking pin-badge exhibition:
And finally, here’s Michael’s thoughts on what 48Sheet IS and IS NOT…
Children have been going OHP crazy in the 48Sheet space. A sheet of acetate and a sharpie pen – great fun complete with the delight of seeing their work/exhibited projected large scale on the walls of the project space, also a bit of shadow puppetry thrown in for good measure (below).
Words by Cat Dickie
48Sheet artist Jim O Raw transformed the space into a screen printing studio on Saturday, and invited members of the public to learn how to Do It Yourself. The turnout was brilliant, with everyone bringing along a white t shirt to have their own geometric design printed onto. With screens clattering and paint flying all over the place, the space was a hub of creativity. Budding artists and creatives learned an exciting new skill from a print expert that they can wear with pride.
Jim O Raw is a Birmingham based artist who specializes in printmaking. To see some of Jim O Raw’s fantastic work, have a look at his website. For more images from the screen printing event, check out the 48Sheet Facebook page.
Above Image: Jim O Raw at work
Words by Cat Dickie
Above Image: Claire Farrell, Clare McLaughlin and professor Jiehong Jiang greet Dr Luo Yiping and his family
48Sheet held an event to welcome very special guests Dr Luo Yiping, Director of Guangdong Museum of Art and the Fourth Guangzhou Triennial and his family on Friday 20th April. 48Sheet is the first international project to feature within the Guangzhou Triennial through MadeIn Company work produced for both projects made possible by co curators Jonathan Watkins, Director Ikon Gallery and Professor Jiehong Jiang, Director of Chinese Visual Arts, Birmingham Institute of Art and Design.
48Sheet sponsors, Advisory Board members including Beverley Nielsen, Sophia Tarr and Nigel Edmondson, associates and collaborators arrived in the 48Sheet project space at The Mailbox on the 20th April, to peruse the gallery of the project, installations and projections including talks from artists Mary Maziotti (Pittsborough) and Ben Long (London).
We were absolutely delighted to be joined by Sir Albert Bore, a huge advocate and instigator of arts and culture in the city who gave a speech to officially welcome the Chinese guests from Birmingham’s sister city Guangzhou; to celebrate the projects international links and success of transforming the city into a gallery with a wonderfully diverse array of artwork from regional, national and international artists. Sir Albert Bore has supported the 48Sheet project and encourages more billboards as part of this project to cover a larger city centre area in Birmingham to create a specific ‘walking tour’ something we aim to do in 2013.
Above image: Sir Albert Bore speaking at the event
Many thanks to Jonathan Watkins, Director of Ikon Gallery for speaking at the event in the capacity of advisory board member, project partner and international co curator with Dr Jiehong Jiang. Jonathan talked about the reach of the project across the city, the warm overwhelming response to the project by members of the public and the positive ‘confusion’ he felt had been created through 48Sheet project. Members of the public have been wondering what the images are selling when initially encountering the billboards and a warm response has quickly followed upon the realisation that its #art not advertising.
Above image; Jonathan Watkins
Above images; Jonathan Watkins Director Ikon Gallery, Professor Jiehong Jiang Director Chinese Visual Arts (BIAD), Neil Rami CEO Marketing Birmingham, Graham Hardy Headmaster Calthorpe School, Lee Humphreys Sales Director JCDecaux, Jenny Peevers & Kate Pryor-Williams Arts Council
With kind thanks to Harvey Nichols for sponsoring the champagne reception and to Hotel Indigo, Marco Pierre Whites Restaurant, for the superb canapés.
Richard Gray from Aston Manor Transport Museum provided a vintage bus, so that everyone in attendance could be treated to a tour of some of the billboard clusters, which was a brilliant way to round off a great afternoon.
Edible Eastside artist in residence Cathy Wade and 48Sheet artist Candice Smith spent the weekend pasting old billboard sheets onto a disused shipping container as part of Edible Eastside. The old 48Sheet posters have been torn, ripped, layered and collaged, transforming old scrap paper into something beautiful.
Members of the public meandering the canal tow path were doing double takes as they walked past the site, if you haven’t paid Edible Eastside a visit yet you should! Its a great site thats developing quickly into a really interesting hive of activity.
48Sheet artist Faith Pearson will also contribute to the work one rthe next few days, as soon as the rain stops…!
Edible Eastside entrance is on Fazeley Street, K4 Architects are also based there. You can visit the work from 12-5pm, Thursday-Saturday at the Grand Union Canal, Fazley Street
Read more about Candice Smith’s involvement with Edible Eastside on her blog.