I wrote this in 2008 as part of a press release for our first Liverpool competition of pavement art…..it seems fitting then to dig it out and remember exactly why we started this thing 😉
“The tale of Irish offspring James William Carling (1857-1887) is of someone creating art and beauty in the face of adversity and abject poverty. It is often said that artists are the eternal optimists, creating beauty were none existed before. The transformation of a single lowly flagstone into a beautiful and valuable work of art is simple and magical, ephemeral. Like butterflies on a summers day, a fleeting glimpse into another world, a child’s memory of jumping into pavement paintings. To marvel at the artists skill and imagination, effectively saying; there must be more to life than this!
As a boy James begged and screeved on the streets of Liverpool out of desperation; to eat, to feed himself and his family, to save them from starvation and the workhouse. His reward was to be thrown into prison, to be mocked and looked down upon by the aristocracy of the day.
James once wrote:
“for in Bold Street, the promenade of the aristocracy, the pavement artist did not draw”
the full description goes like this: “Bold Street! My heart sickens at your name. And well it might, for I not only could not draw in that street I could not walk on it. The sight of a ragged coat was enough to bring the harsh ‘move on’ or what was worse, the most brutal application of the staff. On Bold Street, promenade of the aristocracy, the Gocking (pavement artist) did not draw”
JAMES WILLIAM CARLING 1880
How fitting then in Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture 2008 that we reflect on the past and stand on the shoulders of our forefathers and say
“in Bold Street, the promenade of the ordinary people, the pavement artist WILL DRAW!”
2011 is our third year of presenting this event, for those wishing to find out more about this years competition you can join our James Carling Facebook group for updates and to download application forms you can visit our UrbanCanvas website!