11 January 2013

Guerrilla In The Midst

Inspired by Keri Smith, who I mentioned after Christmas, I've gone and done some guerrilla art.

'Some what?' you may be asking. Well, as I understand it, it’s about secretly leaving your artwork in public places. It’s what Banksy does. However, being a little more feminine and discreet than Banksy I've not graffited something witty on a wall, but left crocheted stars by some park benches.

My main reason for this idiocy is mere tomfoolery. I thought it would be a funny thing to do. Doing anything furtive in public is always a giggle (not that I can remember ever doing such a thing). It’s one of the few subversive acts available to a law abiding middle class woman. I felt both brave and childish – a good, and rare, experience.

There is also a serious reason for doing it. A month or so ago I was waiting for the green man to light up on a zebra crossing when I noticed a sticker that said “You deserve to be loved”. Being a pessimist I quickly dismissed the message, but the directness of it made an impression on me. It wasn’t a ‘Jesus Saves’ kind of one, or a command to think positive. Whatever the motivation of the person who stuck it there it came across to me as a gently supportive statement, which is an unusual quality to find on a high street – and in this world in general.

So when all the ideas for this little project started to coalesce I thought I’d try to keep that tone. My message, given it is January, is ‘This Year Will Be Better’. Hopefully it is open enough for anyone to take something from it, be it better health or better relationships or better grades.

I’ve also chosen to hang the garlands by three benches in three local parks where I have certainly sat before and I guess other people sit to be quiet and contemplate life. I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about the purpose of parks being not just for dog walkers and weekend footballers, but as quiet places for sad people to go. I don’t think councils factor ‘emotional solace’ into their budgets.

Of course, the fly in the ointment is that those are also the places people go when they have had some bad news. My contribution to the guerrilla art movement would then be really inappropriate. Our community has recently had some bad news about a young boy. For his parents this year will not be better.

Still, the majority of people bumble along through their days, and perhaps the unexpected appearance of a bit of textile art with a helpful message on it might perk them up for a short moment.

But then again they might see it as litter and be angry. (Next week I will go back and take them down if they are still there. I don’t like littering either)

This art stuff really messes with your head doesn’t it?

Perhaps it's best kept at the bottom of my sewing basket like the rest of the unfinished cardigans and gloves and phone covers and ...