If these are to be the Last days of Shoreditch then the East is going down defiantly. The London art Calendar highlight that is the Brick Lane Art Car Boot Fair happened yesterday, the gods threw their worst at us in the form of torrential rain, gazebo-threatening wind and whatever else they had to hand, art won though, art most definitely won the day here in East London yesterday..
The Art Car Boot Fair is now twelve years old (or is it thirteen?), one of the last links to the YBA generation and the first days of Shoreditch when no one else really gave two hoots about the beauty to be found in the wreckage of no-go zones of East London. Times have changed now of course, everyone wants a slice and so many of the artists bringing their colour to the fractured cobbled Brick Lane car park to life yesterday had to travel in from their retreats of Kent, Sussex or wherever else they have been forced to move out to. These are the evolving days of Shoreditch, things are changing, art is being forced out, rents are up, places to create just don’t exist anymore, we made it exciting, now they don’t want us, we’re not going quietly though, and yesterday art triumphed in Shoreditch.
And things are changing at the Art Car Boot Fair as well. Yesterday was about fresh art, new artists, people making their first appearances alongside some of the more familiar names and faces of previous years, lots of exciting new art at the prestigious event, fresh blood, fresh energy and a whole load of new things to be explored and enjoyed.
Of course, being a participating artist almost stuck in your boot (or behind your stall) means you don’t get to really explore everything, you miss half the art and the spontaneous events as you spend time meeting people, chatting, exchanging views, answering questions, asking questions (and yes, selling art, we artists need to eat as well, those greedy landlords and estate agents want their pound of flesh, especially those of us still hanging on in East London spaces and studios).
Me? I love taking part in the Art Car Boot Fair, I wake up like a kid on Christmas morning, I count down the days, I love meeting people from all over the world, I’m honoured by the interest, the questions, the people who want their photos taken with the artist (although, the art itself might be a little better looking), I love meeting new people (and old friends made at previous fairs), it really is a day when art gets to let down her hair (is art a she, or a he? A day when art get to let down that sometimes messy multi-coloured sometimes out of control sometimes perfectly sculpted transsexual hair).
I love painting the hundred parts of the (now annual) One Hundred Pieced Piece and seeing the enthusiasm as people young and old pick out their pieces with such concentrated delight, I love the engagement that that piece of work brings, it isn’t about me, it really is a about those kids taking their time and buying their first pieces of art (and in one case one smiling little girl, haggling on price, way to go girl, four for the price of three because she’s run out of pocket money, brilliant!). Some artists (and critics) might get all sour-faced and sniffy about it, some might think it beneath them but I love it to bits, I love the chance to engage like this, I love it to bits.
Really don’t get those “collectors” who line up, rush in, grab what they can from the big names and then leave again almost as quickly as they rushed in, what is all that about? Rushing off to flip it on ebay? They miss out on so so much, I love the kids throwing foam pies at Kunst the Clown (who might have something to do with painter Paul Sakoilsky), I love that various members of Faust and such suddenly started playing on the small music stage, and that Kevin Rowland was as stylish as ever, shame the rain put off so many, it really was awful weather, I love that so many people did make the effort and did join in.
And there was so much good art to explore yesterday (damn, lot of competition here this year!), I rather think, in terms of the art to be found in corners on stalls, the paintings elbowing for attention, the art from artists who names you probably haven’t heard of yet (surely it isn’t all about waiting hours in the line outside just to buy yet another Ben Eine print and then leaving again?). In terms of the art this was probably the strongest year so far, to pick out names really isn’t fair, there was so much to see and so much we didn’t get to see properly from our space, so many things we would have loved to have bought, this really isn’t the time to start picking out names (although Jimmy Caulty’s Riot container is a must see). No, this was not the year for name-dropping, this year really was about the event and feeling as a whole, the one big thing, the various strands of the art community coming together, the creative elements entwining, the smiles in the rain, the heels on the cobbles, the gin and the paint, the knitted swimsuits, the performance, he spray paint, the screen printing and the gloves, the hands, the smiles and the cars (Vauxhall do deserve a mention for their constant support and their classic cars, love the Victors, love the F type, it’s a childhood thing, I love those two-tone Victors, I grew up in one). To pick out names of artists is wrong, it was about the day and the whole, the whole brilliant thing that is the Art Car Boot Fair. .
So the rain did everything it could, the wind blew, the sun battled to break through, the Band of Holy Joy added to the day again, Keith Levine was apparently doing something (missed whatever it was), Peter Blake was a gent, Pam Hogg smiled, there was fresh art tarts, skeletons (a thorny leaf or two), there was type, there was people enjoying, there was kisses and smiles and people enjoying. The day was great, the people were great, the kids were great, the dogs were stylish and art was he winner. These aren’t quite the last days of Shoreditch then, these are changing days, there’s an evolving, there’s always something evolving, something new, ever-changing. Joshua Compston would have enjoyed strolling around his legacy in a his white suit and somehow the defiance in the rain made the 2016 Brick Lane Art Car Boot Fair even better, last days of Shoreditch? Nah, East London still has lots of creativity to offer, art is alive and exciting, a great day was had, loved it, loved being part of it, loved watching it evolved, exciting times, these are still the fine days, singing in the rain, I loved being part of the Art Car Boot Fair, big thanks everyone…. (sw)
And here’s a flavour from our boot, by no means did we see or capture everything, impossible to get it all. Click on an image to enlarge or to run the slide show… (all photos Sean Worrall or Marina Organ)