I’m getting a bit behind in my blogging, mainly because of work commitments and personal issues but I’ll try to bring you (and me!) up to speed on what’s been happening of late. Last month saw us working at the Norwich Dragon Festival (23rd Feb. 2011) this was planned as our first outdoor gig of the season, a bit early in the year for street art and the chances of getting a mild, dry day in February is very slim…especially here in the UK. And predictably, yes you guessed it, the rain and bitter northerly winds got the better of us. Luckily the promoters had a cunning plan and we ended up inside the Chapelfield Shopping Centre. As with all things, when we turn up at these gigs we have to improvise so we had brought along some paper just in case it did rain.
It’s very much a case of “making it up as we go along” but we were given a nice large space on the ground floor in a popular central location of the mall.
The kids and parents couldn’t get over the fact that we would put paper down in what looked to them like a random manner and then proceed to draw a Dragon….one parent asked how we did it and I replied it’s all guesswork and chance, but to be honest it’s much more that that…more like bluff and smoking mirrors and one day we’ll be unmasked for being the Charlatans we actually are……just like Banksy!!! (That’s a joke by the way!)
It was nice to be back in Norwich, this is the 4th time we’ve worked here and we always get a great response. It is true that as you travel the country doing art you pick up on ‘cultural’ differences. For instance in some places the children can be very shy at getting involved or the adults can throw themselves into it more than the kids, and vica verca in other places entire families can’t get enough of the art. The thing that appeals time & time again is the communal aspect of doing art in a public place. Getting on your hands and knees in the middle of the street is not a natural thing to do, so you need a catalyst. Street art is just that catalyst, that excuse to ‘play on the streets’ everybody is equal on all fours……and you can talk to complete strangers like you’ve known them all your life. And people often do. For them brief moments in time, individuals come together to form a ‘community’ a group of people taking ownership over and producing art. It brings out something prehistoric in us. It’s like cave painting and rock drawings that were all done by the community in an effort to tell stories and take ‘ownership’ of a particular space.
So why a Dragon Festival? Well as I gather, the dragon is of particular significance in Norwich, I think it’s included in the city’s coat of arms and they even have a Dragon Hall in the city. It’s a nice little festival and after we were finished in the shopping mall we took a stroll over to the Norwich Forum where they had an excellent exhibition of dragons produced by local children.
We have another provisional booking for Norwich later in the year so we look forward to going back, only this time we’ll spend a bit of time in the city and visit a few museums methinks! Tis such a long way to travel just to come straight back home again!
You can find more photos from the Norwich Dragon festival on our Flickr site HERE!
Many thanks to Contraband International for making it happen!
Workshop by UrbanCanvas: www.urbancanvas.org.uk