The most popular TED Talk, by Ken Robinson, is about creativity as an undervalued force for coping with our future.
To thrive, we need solutions. Creatively, artists explore challenges the same as consultants do, social enterprises, and scientists. We are all together in moving onwards. Artists get little funding. Everyone should love their work, and needs to sustain it, if it has merit.
In August I installed this logo for ‘Rocket Recordings’ record label. The Rocket was in the UK’s flagship record store of Rough Trade Records. The huge store is in Shoreditch, the UK’s capital of hipsters and street art. It’s near Petticoat Lane in East London, where I bought gold and silver when I when I was 10, and worked weekends on a jewellery stall. In 1981 I made £130, then blew it all on (toy) cars. With personal income we can own, achieve, or share.
A place with a Voice
Oxford is rooted in heritage, while looking to the future. We all are. For next year, a group of us are organising an exhibition about how the past shapes us. My input includes brick forms, reflecting how the land and history is layered with emotional phases. These ripple into what we build: homes, work teams, and technologies. Colours affect our mood, influencing how we cooperate.
Being aware of influences is useful in creating solutions. An Oxfordshire ceramicist is creating pit-fired archaeological dining sets, with original stories etched into them, that enact how our past influences actions and emotions. Context is crucial in business.
Contexts of business and daily life include deep challenges. “In a world divided by politics, artists are using their work to react and protest. ‘The Great Divide’ asks if we can come back together in the face of division.” – This is the premise of a show at Oxford’s OVADA until 28th October, curated by a New York artist. Brexit looms, and global warming means sea horses are turning up in the Thames, the cost of thriving is rising as if it’s climbing a ladder to escape the lava and floodwater, and America is divided. These are inspirations to do our best. I am showing wall-hang sculptures conceived when I performed, this summer, at Europe’s biggest Street Art festival.
There may be a sequel OVADA show in 2019, focussing on solutions. There are pieces I want to make and exhibit on all these themes, and more. The lava figure was to be in the ‘Place with a Voice’ exhibition, but it was bought, and is now on display in Australia.
Price point and Investment
The street artist ‘Pure Evil’ has opened a gallery at the highly gentrified end of Shoreditch. Stencils sprayed onto a canvas start at £1,500. That could be an indicator of quality, or the UK Street art’s brand power in a few overseas markets. It will not greatly support the endeavours of one’s city.
Sometimes it is assumed that artists have fun, and need no further reward. In South London for 2 years, in my “spare time”, I started and ran a gallery on very low budget, representing artists with diagnosed psychiatric conditions. Many found it hard to represent themselves. If it were just a matter of asking for handouts then we are all missing the point of shared messages and support.
If you believe in Ken Robinson’s TED Talk, consider sponsoring an art show.
If you see merit in an artist’s work, consider partnering in artists’ ventures.