Sean Worrall is making #43ArtDrop, 43 artworks hung on the street, every day of the Trail. Watch out for his pieces, take one you like and help complete the piece on Instagram:
The best place to see my art in the flesh is out on the street, just keep looking..
I have done #43ArtDrop pieces before, but each time the #43ArtDrop piece consists of 43 freshly painted parts that haven’t been seen before, the 43 parts of this piece will be left on the street so these paintings will probably never be seen again at any kind of formal event or exhibition, although sometimes these paintings that have been left hanging for people to take for free do mysteriously appear in galleries and such with price tickets attached, not my price tickets I might add.
Arts Trail: Have you taken part in the Trail before?
Yes, I had the pleasure of taking part in the excellent outdoor On The Brink sculpture exhibition at in the grounds of The Wanstead Quaker Meeting House last year and the year before that I took part in the Hang With Us show at Norlington Road Studios And I have of course previously left piece of art hanging on the streets during the trail….
Arts Trail: Tell us a little about your artistic background / education
A little? There’s probably quite a lot! My background is in the DIY punk rock ethic of the last century, in the early days of street art and the photocopied collage-flavoured DIY zine-driven underculture of the 80’s and 90’s, that and delicately flowery textile design work approached in a contemporary painterly and sometimes very traditional kind of way (I was a very painterly textile designer in terms of my degree and the formal art education I did partake in). I spent the late 80’s and the early 90’s promoting DIY music shows, running zines, a busy underground record label and hand made hand painted covers while drawing delicate leaves and flowers and leaving art on the street, or up against walls or spray painted on walls (long before social media and everyone sharing everything on-line instantly, the days before the ego of the internet), I spent the 90’s immersed in underground zine culture, alternative music and the running the highly successful Organ magazine (a publication that grew from a handmade hand-printed photocopied DIY zine to a cutting-edge glossy alternative music/art publication with a worldwide reputation and readership, Organ still exists now but in the much smaller relaxed form of an on-line magazine at organthing.com, it became a monster in the early days of this century). It was a very busy record label, I also put on hundreds of music and art events in conventional venues, unconventional venues, Camden pubs, East London squats and alternative spaces all over city, those days have a big influence in terms of how we put on gallery shows now. I painted and created record sleeves and more for several bands and labels, ran a weekly TV show (long before the internet kicked in properly), toured the UK and bits of Europe as the “in-house” artist with a band – creating their art, creating art at their gigs. Painting was always the priority though and so I dropped the record label, the magazine, the music, the Organ as a serious printed magazine and pretty much everything else to focus on nothing but the need to paint.. Since 2009 I’ve has been devoted to nothing but painting (and reluctantly curating). Painting on canvas, painting on things that are left on the street, more painting on the actual street, on walls, on doors, street drops and the rest, as well as exhibiting more conventional canvas work extensively around London and beyond in solo shows, group shows and such.
I spent four years running a very busy always open maximalist (punk-rock flavoured) art gallery right in the middle of Vyner Street, East London (with co conspirator and brilliant painter Emma Harvey, a far more interesting painter than I am), Cultivate opened in late 2011 following on from the very successful Stinging Netil takeover of an East London market for a summer’s Sunday full of art, performance and music, the Stinging Netil was the catalyst the for Cultivate. Cultivate was a gallery space opened right in the middle of what was then the central focus in terms of East London art, Vyner Street was then an almost unique street alive art galleries and studios and more, we almost defiantly opened the door to Cultivate smack bang in the middle of it all (the always open door was a very important part of it, no unwelcoming closed doors and aloof buzzers for us, rain or shine, the gallery door was always open to everyone). Cultivate in Vyner Street saw massive crowds, some 112 shows and events before is all came crashing to an end at the start of 2015 as the developers moved in and down came all the walls of many of the galleries in the street. Cultivate goes on though, we’re rather enjoying the current nomadic lifestyle as we continue to curate in various galleries and spaces under the Cultivate banner. And so in answer to the original question most of my artistic education comes from the streets and DIY culture, although I was extremely lucky to have spent a year of my youth on an art foundation course where the painting tutor was one of the greatest British painters of the late 20th century, a brilliant painter and a wonderful man called Peter Predergast, what a privilege that was! A lot of my work ethic and my attitude towards making art comes from Peter, there aren’t many days I don’t hear his booming Welsh voice in my head, I owe him such a lot, one of my heroes, I’d love to be able to tell him that to his face, unfortunately we lost Peter about ten years ago, go search for some of his work on line if you don’t know of him, what a painter! .
My art practice? Intense, non-stop, I have to paint, I can’t spend a day without creating art, I don’t understand artists who leave home in the morning without a sketchbook, I feel naked without mine, I paint everyday, I paint all night. “Inspire” is a strange word, I have a need to make art, some days I think it a burden, I don’t know if I’m the kind of artist that’s ever inspired, I am driven, not making art is not an option, I love colour, the relationships created by colours, the tension, the textures of decay are very important, layers, I have no interest in being slick or flat or graphic or “neat”, I don’t understand artists who need to be “neat” although I can be if I need to be, I love street art when it has decayed.when the weather has had a say, when other people have added layers or marks, when things have faded and most of all when nature has had her say and and tagged things with her fresh leaves and her fresh layers have started to grow on old marks.
Arts Trail: How would you describe a good day in the studio?
Lots of paint, sometimes loud music, football on the radio, sometimes silence, maybe art documentaries running on YouTube, a lot of the time you find me just sitting, look at what I’m doing rather than actually doing it, art is mostly about looking. A good day is when none of the mundane things like paying bills or dealing with landlords or a day when the postman brings nothing bad and when not too much time is taking up curating shows or dealing with other artists in terms of the next Cultivate show or why they can’t deliver art because their dog has eaten their homework, a good day is when a painting starts to work and that private feeling, that secret “yes!” that I;d never admit to shouting. A good day is when someone sends in an e.mail to tell me the tale of the painting they found hanging in East London with a hashtag on the back on how that painting is now hanging on their wall in New Zealand, I would be good to hear about as many of the 43 pieces left out during the trail, to see photos of people with their found pieces, a good day would be e.mails coming in or social media posts of found pieces, and of course a good day is when someone drops by with the intention of buying a piece of art or a piece sells via the on-line shop, we artists all like a sale, and anyone who says they don’t isn’t telling the truth. I saw one of my paintings hanging on someone’s wall not so long ago, I could see it through her front window, it just caught my eye as I was passing by, it was in a window overlooking the street, she saw me looking came out and started shouting, I tried to explain but she was most annoyed and said it was obvious that I was thinking about breaking in and anyway she has bought the painting in a gallery and of course it wasn’t one of mine as she set about calling the police, I did hand her a business card but by then she was having none of it, we artists do like a sale though.
I just hope the weekend of the art drop is sunny and not too windy and I hope people actually do respond and take part, the hashtag on the back of the paintings and the photos people post on social media when they find pieces is an important part of the piece, besides hoping people engage, which really isn’t a “challenge’ as such, I don’t think I face any, finding material is never difficult, spotting stray hooks or nails on building walls is a slight challenge, people do wonder what I’m doing as I study walls, oh and I can;t leave a painting hanging on a wall if the wall is the wrong colour, finding the right spot to hang a piece is the biggest challenge. The biggest hope is that people aren’t greedy and that people only take one or two pieces each (if you find one and take it then see another you prefer do please feel free to swap the piece you have for the piece you want), my big big hope is that at we hear about at least one or two of the pieces afterwards. Watch that #43ArtDrop hashtag on Instagram now, .I really want people to get involved and send in photos and tell me where the pieces have got to (and yes I will try to document it all on my own website and social media) .
Not really space to collect art, I live in my studio, the walls are full of my own work, although I do have default art collection that mostly consists of pieces artists have failed to collect at the end of Cultivate shows. I collect a lot of things that are hanging on my walls that a potentially pieces I will use to make art. one day I will collect other people’s art, I love showing other people’s art, there is as much pleasure in seeing other artists who have been in our shows develop as there is in making my own art. I guess I;m not such a reluctant curator after all, I love most of it. I did find a couple of brilliant paintings in a skip not so long ago, someone must have cleared out a studio. I swapped a painting of mine for one of Tracey Emin’s, she asked if I would, and there’s an Emma Harvey Art Tart painting on the wall over there, a Julia Maddison monoprint, there is a collection building but no, I don’t collect art, I spend all my money on paint and brushes and what’s left goes on food.
Arts Trail: Please tell us something you really like about Leytonstone.
I don’t live in Leytonstone now, I did love my time there though, the edges where city gives way to field and forest, I love the idea of the Leyton-stone itself and it really was exciting to be based right there while all the creativity and community that evolved around the M11 road protests was happening. Despite what was going on, the destruction of people’s homes and long-established communities, despite all that, there really was a magical alternative community fighting to save things, its a shame more of that spirit didn’t hang about. There was condemned houses defiantly taken over and turned in to art galleries and music venues, there was different communities coming together and engaging with each other, getting to know each other, it is still upsetting to see what’s there (or not there) now and to think about what was there thriving in “Claremontia” when you came in on the tube train. Dolly Watson was brilliant, a then 92 year old who was born in the house she still lived in on Claremont Road, she was brilliant. Those were very creative times, so much art going on, there was a great lollipop lady, and a great chessboard in the middle of the road with chess pieces made of old hoovers and the things left over after the evictions. I’m based down the road in Hackney now, Leytonstone is somewhere I visit in terms of art events or when I need to escape to Epping or Wanstead.
Besides the excitement of engaging with the people exploring the art of the trail while leaving art on the trail, I’m currently recovering from curating a big group show here in Hackney, I’m looking forward to being part of the Art Car Boot Fair again on July 9th in Vauxhall, excited by the new venue and being part of what is always an impressive line up and a great day. Looking forward to getting to Folkestone again with the Art Car Boot Fair as part of the Triennial in September as well. I’m currently working on a number of bigger canvas pieces for a forthcoming solo show so I really should be focusing on that rather than organising more group shows and events, but I did spy a brilliant empty space the other day. I’m half way through the notion of bringing a painting to a completed conclusion on every single day of the year during 2017, I’m working on a book that documents the Cultivate adventures and the artists and shows that took place in Vyner Street, and of course people can explore my art and my thoughts via www.seanworrall.net or www.cultivategallery.com as well as our extensive daily coverage of other people’s art via the Organ pages at www.organthing.com. The best place to see my art in the flesh is out on the street, just keep looking, art is mostly about looking, if you see a piece of mine hanging on a wall, please feel free to take it and then say hello via social media.