Thursday, 23 January 2014

Well Bradford Rocks My World!

I have left Bradford but I'll be back the generosity, kindness of that city blew my mind! I have spent the last six and a half years based in Bristol and it has become increasingly hard for me to find affordable spaces to live and work. On a city that measures its success partly on its artistic community they have pushed out the artists at a time when we are needed the most. Bradford welcomed me with open arms, a workshop space and gallery on the street from Fabric...

people look at the work while i work, they smile and wave and watched me work and come to talk. It is where art belongs on the street, in the community.

Me working in the space... with a little sign explaining who I am, what I am doing and welcoming questions.

So what did I get up to in Bradford? Well I expanded the city by responding to changes I saw and people I met including The Peel Park Pub in Undercliffe that has closed down since my last visit. The clients protest by using the back yard as their pub now. Ruth is currently making some characters to occupy the pub in the city. I also met Dave (the local street cleaner) and Richard (local window cleaner who runs Shiny Clean) both made a massive impression on me and were an important part of my time in Bradford and now they live in the city we made.

People have responded so well!! I only wish I had twitter or could record this but I find such things a distraction to me you'll have to look for it yourself! I have never worked in such a responsive place.

Here's a man I met in Undercliffe who came to see exhibition who is outside talking to other artist Ruth Fettis.

But I didn't just expand the city we built while I was in Bradford. I also responded to other things I saw in the city. In a city that is struggling in so many ways I was astounded to see so many betting shops, cash converters and claim companies thriving. I spent time in the betting shops and they are like the new community centres bringing men together. They are like places of worship people blindly giving their faith. I photographed these places and built shrines for them firstly it was to comment on the religious aspect but then these shrines became a place for the men to mourn their lost money. It was then my aim to get these shrines in the betting shops, I told the attendants of the betting shop this was an  art project for college all but one gladly accepted them and I left the shrine in the window of that one anyway!

The saddest thing I noticed in Bradford was the library. There is a new library in the centre of town everyone is so happy because after the old one being closed so long they finally have a new one. But the new library is tiny compared to the old 8 floor one they used to have. My friend went in to get a book and it had been sold, it seems lots of the old books have been sold. So what are people meant to do ow without these books? I made some booklets that I put inside the books in the library questioning where they had gone...

I wrote a poem that was inside it...

"Reading a book can change your life,
access to information is everybody's right,

most books sold now few remain,
Without them we can't expand our brains,

Your power can't dictate our knowledge,
through empty shelves we cannot forage"

since leaving I have been sent this petition

it seems more libraries are closing! WE NEED TO SAVE THEM!!

and thats me now I'm back in Liverpool plotting my next art attack!! watch this space!!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Every gallery should be on the street!!

My desk is set up in the window with a little sign explaining who I am, people pass all day, some wave some have  a cheeky glance and some come in to chat!! I watch people looking at the art through the corner of my eye and it is so inspiring!

I have finished the Peel Park Pub and it has taken its place in the city. I have also added Richard the window cleaner and yesterday photographed Dave the street cleaner who passes throughout the day and gives me a little wave he said the work reminds him of the old 3D cameras, which blew my mind! The people passing love it and recognise their city and its stories, its really inspiring.

They have also finally started building work on the big hole hat was dug in the middle of Bradford about ten years ago, my city sits opposite the new building site in all its glory. Yesterday I invited the developers to come and look at it!!

I also began photographing the cities betting shops, I have never seen so many, one block alone had five its strange how these places thrive in poorer towns! I have put these photographs into photoshop and today I am going to build them into little shrines so the betters can use them to morn for their lost money! I am unsure how I am going to get them into the betting shops yet! Watch this space!!

The Pub

Betting Shop's the new place of worship!! 

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Bradford, amazing people, empty shops and loads of stories what more could a girl need!

Thanks to Ruth Fettis and Fabric (an art group managing empty properties in Bradford) I have been given a shop in the centre of town to use as a workshop while I'm here! Me and Ruth and Rusty Nut have got our work 'Tales of a Forgotten City', a piece of work about the empty buildings and the people of Bradford in the window for the next 9 months. It went up yesterday and still needs some tweaking but so far the response is great! I will take residency in the shop over the next week and create more work about the community.

The Shop

 The Installation so far...

Ideas for work... Me and Ruth have began creating a piece of work about Ruth's local pub The Peel Park. It has recently been shut down and locals have built a shelter in the back that they are using as their pub.

We are going to add this story into the city.

I am researching a couple of other ideas to create work about here including the downsizing of central library and peel papers which friends and locals Evie and Abi have been filling me in about, so watch this space!