January’s month-long #43Leaves piece was completed yesterday, yesterday was the final day of January. This isn’t the first piece of this nature, there have been quite a few #43leaves pieces and piece of a similar nature over the last ten years or so, indeed there were year-long 365 pieced pieces in 2015 and again in 2018. I am blowing my own trumpet here again of course, these are my paintings. 43 paintings, 43 pieces painted on found unwanted recycled material picked up off the street. Material picked up, cleaned up, painted on and then left hanging back out there on the street for people to just take should they wish to. This time it happened in East London (previous #43Leaves pieces have happened in Folkestone as part of the Triennial Fringe, in Deptford as part of Deptford X, as part of the Byline festival in a forest in East Sussex. as part of Hackney WickEd, as part of the Walthamstow Arts Trail, leaves have been left all over the land, we reckon there’s been well over 2000 leaves left hanging now). The latest #43Leaves piece happened in January 2022.
January’s #43Leaves piece started in East London on the first day of the year, it went of throughout the month, each of the 43 paintings had the hashtag on the back and people were once again invited to join in by posting photos of themselves with the pieces they had chosen to take. The pieces are only ever hung on screws or nails that are already there waiting, no damage was done, no walls or pieces of art were harmed, nothing was hammered in, nothing was disrespectfully pasted over and these pieces are really not meant to stay there for too long, most of the time they go within hours, and yes, I am very picky in terms of where I choose to hang them, where I hang them is very much a part of it.
I once had an art critic tell me these pieces were nothing but publicity stunts ahead of gallery shows, I know that painting a big new piece on the street before a print release or a gallery show is a favourite trick of an attention seeking street artist with an eye on a quick buck but no, these pieces are not about PR ahead of a commercial show. There pieces are about recycling, they’re about engagement, they’re about reaching our beyond a gallery wall, about the things we waste, about the people who choose to take the paintings and become part of the piece of work, the enormous pleasure in seeing the photos of people with the pieces, reading the tales, and there have been some brilliant tales and stories from people. Art needs to reach out, art needs to engage, it needs to be about more than just selling “stuff”.
This is my piece of work, so I really can’t be blowing my own trumpet too much. Here it is, or at least my pet of it, the second part is the photos other people post. This is one of the things I did as an artist in January 2022, and here are the photos I took when I left the leaves hanging there for people to take… (sw)
Do please click on an images to enlarge or to run the slide show and view all 43 paintings