Sunday, 12 October 2014

Turfed out into the cold

Bristol is brilliant.
It's one of the few places where people actually look for ways of doing jolly things that make the city more fun.
Even the sensible people who did their homework on time and ended up in the council offices have been known to smile benignly upon delightfully daft projects involving water slides on main roads, public pianos and lampposts that cast someone else's shadow as you walk under them, (which is damned clever and a bit freaky).
The problem is there are just too many people with nifty ideas, and not enough opportunities or funding to get all this wonderfulness out there.

The locals have neatly sidestepped this by simply doing it anyway.

Not for them the approval of lofty Art Institutions, the warm feeling of civic recognition or the intoxicating celebrity of getting in the local free paper.
They operate in a twilight world of anonymity, their only reward being the knowledge that someone, somewhere will see their efforts and assume it must be art students mucking about again.

Which brings us to the tricky issue of graffiti.

Even if you're not a fan of having your fence scribbled on, and have forgotten how much you disapproved of that local bloke until he got famous, it's reassuring to know that there are industrious souls out there with an opinion, who have done something more with their evenings than watch singing apprentice bakers on ice-skates crying in rich peoples gardens.
I like the clever stuff, and the constant overpainting means it doesn't outstay it's welcome.
Like all the best jokes, timing is everything.

Some seem to linger like sad reflections on us all, like the large name on a wall I often pass.
Whoever painted it had grand ambitions, as the letters are huge.
Unfortunately, he could only afford one can and his attempts to colour it in get fainter as he progressed, tailing off in a sad little sputter.

A bit like life....

Walking through an abandoned churchyard this morning, I was met by this recumbent figure.
Next to him was a pot of daises, so I planted one about his person and had a little think about some of the people who I visit now only in memory.

There was no official plaque sanctioned by the Arnolfini or the Tate, no endorsement from those who would choose our art for us or instructions as to how we should view it.

I hope it doesn't get taken away too soon.