The Art of Giving

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I learnt a long time ago that hanging on to things doesn’t work, because it simply doesn’t get you anywhere. You seem to stop yourself and everything else from moving, and all your creative energy grinds to a halt. On the other hand the more you can let go and give, (within reason), the better things flow.

I’m taking part in a community art event in Leeds this summer called Papergirl. The project is really about the the art of giving – and in this case, giving art. It started in Berlin, in 2006, as a response to a ban on displaying art publicly in the form of posters and since then has spread to cities all around the world. It’s very simple; after the Papergirl Leeds Exhibition later this year every single piece of work submitted to the show will be rolled up and handed to members of the public by papergirls (and boys) on bicycles at the Papergirl Leeds Ride event.

I love the idea of creating and giving away. It’s refreshing and liberating – and giving away like this in such a sweeping, random way makes it feel quite different to the feeling of making art for someone you know. I like the way that the work will fall unexpectedly into people’s hands like snowfall or leaves in the wind. Does it matter that the work may not be appreciated and end up discarded, dumped into the nearest waste paper bin? Not really. Or not to me, anyway. It’s a wonderful exercise in letting go. And the spirit of this event is actually just as much about receiving as about giving – it can be quite thought provoking to be freely handed something that’s been thought about, crafted, and created. It’s been a good opportunity for me to create something in a different way and I like the feeling that I am sending these thoughts and images out into the world where they may sink or float. They may possibly find a home, or they may perish without a trace, but I have launched them into the world and they go with my best wishes and my love.
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