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News at Cowboymod

Thursday, 04 November 2010

cowboymod’s jericho artweeks mural exhibition

In december 2008, I decided that after 13 years of looking at the derelict building on the corner of Walton St & Little Clarendon St, I would create a piece of artwork that would represent the community of the coolest part of Oxford & one that I have known since 1981 - Jericho.

It would act as a "welcome to jericho" & at the same time be a dooorway into the area. it would show all the diverse businesses & amenities there-in.
i decided to get in an artist, as oppossed to doing it myself, my idea, & my artwork, might be seen as too indulgent? i came across Stuart Roper, local artist from wantage, & from the first moment we spoke, i knew he had the ability to pull this off. he works in watercolour, which fitted well, i wanted it to be a work of art, not just a graffiti. also, that it go up as one, in one day, suddenly it would appear.

so, by painting it on a3 paper & then having it blown-up & printed on canvas, we could achieve that. the costs were worked out to be around £4000,
wow, how could i raise that? 40 shops, £100 a pop, to be used as advertisement on the biggest project jericho art had seen. cool, job done, oh, except for convincing 40 local businesses. first up, i went to max at the big bang, fran at liscious, they thought it was a great idea, & would support & donate.
i then went to Daisies flower shop, i thought everyone uses them, they've been around for years & if i had there support, up at the other end of the street, i could get everyones. i wanted to get the whole street involved, not just the little corner were i am situated. from my location, you cannot see the other end, & i wanted visitors to know what more was available. well, daisies were in full agreement, i had nothing to show them at first, just my idea, but then as we created little bits & pieces i was able to keep them involved & aware of all the developments. slowly i then went to all the others.

popping out between clients, befor & after work, running up & down the street, trying to get everyone on board. some, were instantly enthusiastic, edge barbers, phoenix, blancs, posh fish, co-op, jericho tavern, to name just a few. others were less so, the movies video store & frueds, both felt they had no need to advertise, that there businesses were secure, even in the middle of a recession, they felt that although they rely on jericho custom, they did not need to give back anything. also, some like a hairsalon & a lingerie store, both for personal angst toward me, would not join in. almost the whole of little clarendon st, were right up for it. things were moving in the right direction.

stuart was woking hard on the paintings, we were trying to work it into a "map" order, to try & give an idea of location. anyway, we got the help of blue amigo printers, & they drastically brought down the costs. we included the schools, post office, churches, synagogue, doctors etc. anyway, we looked, after much deliberation at having it up & completed by july 2009. saturday 11th july, it was unveiled. the press came out, as did some of the stores,
it was a fun day. then it was a case of getting the money in, well, now i had a mission, would all those that had promised to pay, pay? daisies, gave me a cheque on the tuesday, & then bounced it on the friday, they said they didn't like it, & that it was not worth £100, hmmm, branca, would only pay for branca & not their sister store gluttons. partymania, mortons, & a couple of others, never came up with the money, the owner of central, wanted to see a complete breakdown of costs, which makes me feel i must check on his profit margines. duke of cambridge & peppers burgers, came & gave me money even tho' i had not found the time to ask them. but wanted them on the mural as they were very much part of the area.

anyway, finally, i reached £3000, £1000 for the art, £1000 for the printing, which left £1000. i decided from the begining that whatever was left, would be given to the local st barnabas schools art dept. no money went in my pocket. anyway, the mural has been up for almost a year, & i want to celebrate that it's there & that it has not been vandalised. that says so much about what we achieved.

at the exhibition, Stuarts original paintings will be on display & available for sale. along with some of his other work. also there will be John Ellinger, the man that donated his poem to the mural, showing some of his other work. for my part, there will be my store, my living installation. people will be invited to come in, in small numbers at a time, & have a good look at all that i have created in the store, all my photographs, collections, guitars, music, fashion, superheroes, cowboys etc. the current look is based on colours, strong primary, blues & reds, very iconic, very mod, very pop art, very very cool.
the store should be viewed from the outside, at first, it should be seen as a 3 dimensional picture, from different angles different things can be seen,
& then by stepping inside, one can become a part of it, & see all the detail created.

it is just a small part of my life & art on show. i have had my store since 1995, i am very passionate & committed to my craft, & want all that i do, to be available for everyone to see & share. oh, & purchase, if they so wish. so, i welcome you all to this years artweeks project. i hope you have fun. i have.



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