Sunday, June 17, 2007

Keep it a secret (Make it Not Suck II), Jasper Ave and 108 St. June 17, 2007

Back at it again, the city's economic and construction boom received a therapeutic art treatment this Father's Day. Although many of the same artists returned with very simliar works, there was a sense that more work was put into the pieces this time around--and this has both postiive and negative connotations.

Although better constructed and more organized this second go-around, the carefree sprawl of spontaneity is much more subdued. Some pieces like spider man just shows last minute laziness, while others, the fabric covered panel or the text-based poetic ramblings of an urban dweller present some genuine artistry in this repeat task.

Although non-commisioned public art pieces go up all over the world in various forms and formats, one wishes to see this type of large scale project in less high profile areas, like industrial parks and suburbia, where these guerila urban "beautification" exercises would really benefit and challenge its environment.

Photo credit: Amy Fung, 2007


Anonymous said...

whatever. It totally ruled and you know it.

- Sheri

Anonymous said...

a condemned building isn't challenging?

MC said...

Nobody likes a critic, Amy.

(actually, I do...)

tish said...

i didn't read this so much as a criticism.

i think AF is trying to put this effort into a larger context - and to see where that lands ... one that might not even include any of these specific participants, but a whole new set of people interested in the ideas and action brought up through this example. and in such a way, this is a compliment, is it not?

tish said...


ps: i enjoyed it.

multipurpose karen said...

Amy's writing has made me interested in local art. It seems to be a small scene that needs to be nurtured but also challenged.

ZOZ said...

"... just shows last-minute laziness," my fat naked ass!

"Spidor Man" was deliberately reproduced exactly from its sketch material to not only deflate an actual multinational product-advertising - the kind of garbage normally on these walls and newspaper covers - but also to make you laugh. And, frankly, to get kids who like Spider-Man smiling. We chose the size on purpose, so it would look extra runty.

There's this bullshit idea art shouldn't be funny when, really, why shouldn't it be *anything*?

This isn't numb boosterism, but I salute what everyone did. Is it wrong to enjoy ourselves and engage and/or cheer up strangers walking along? Consider us engaged, I guess.

But when I walked through yesterday and a homeless guy with a big beard asked me, "How do you like my art gallery?", it was extra obvious we did good.

Anyway, sorry to be such a whiny, snivelling bitch - my skin is actually quite thick - but take a look again and ask yourself, "Do they really not know how to spell 'spider?'"

The general mood was different simply because it was gloomier and the vets weren't as scared.

"Last minute." "Poetic ramblings." "Sponteaity ... subdued." "One wishes." One what?

Mean! Sorry a) we weren't as fun and/or b) pro enough. Lastly, I agree we could do this anywhere, but why not everywhere, including mutating Jasper?


amy said...

who said it wasn't funny? I said it was lazy.

you can qualify your idea after the fact, but to the passerby (of whom I am one), your execution of spidey doesn't communicate any of those ideas you just stated.

just saying.

if you guys keep doing this, and I hope you do, I just hope that initial gem of an idea continues to develop.

Parasha said...

okay, i'm probably a little biased.


to "challenge" the concept and location of this and suggesting it be more effective in a lesser-profile area, for example, seems pretty insignificant. i mean, i know what you're saying... but Make it Not Suck is in it's infancy and has gone down a total of two times thanks to one sole initiative. not to mention, MINS taking place specifically downtown is pertinent to it's purpose and interest so far.

jyeah. it is what it is and it's fucking great. thank you, sheri, for bringing everyone together for such an occassion and being a great little rogue.

ZOZ said...

Well, you didn't get it, but others did, which is good enough for me. Again, I humbly apologize for being both lazy and part of something too serious.

Send me the bill.


Ashley Andel said...

Amy, I agree that these projects should appear in less obvious places, even just for the sake of surprise, but Edmonton's downtown is BORING. After eleven, I always find myself trying in vain to find a bite to eat, yet you can drink your face off. In a mausoleum.

The scene does need to be challenged, and it's great to see some initiative. We're challenging ourselves, each other.

Frank Zappa asked the question "does humor belong in music"? Does humor belong in art? I loved The Mandel Twins, the spidor-man. I think in some ways things could have been less hip or cornball, but better polished?! Andrea's Chevrolet is sublime. Spidor-man appeals to the children too--in fact some children participated and really blew all of us out of the water when it came to spontaneity...

Nice to read that you have balls.


ZOZ said...

P.S. Thanks for musing, whether or not we agree!


BeBop said...

one wishes to see this type of large scale project in less high profile areas, like industrial parks and suburbia, where these guerila urban "beautification" exercises would really benefit and challenge its environment

Sure, it would be cool to see this sort of project in an industrial area as well. But I think the point was that Edmonton's downtown can be more attractive. And more people will see it there than in an industrial park.

Anonymous said...

part of the point to me, and call me lazy, is that everybody has different views on it, and also that they care enough at all. I haven't seen this kind of response to artwork ever. From all walks of life (ok I know 'all walks of life' is a cheesy statement but it's true), even though the articulate ones that are addicted to internet communities are more outspoken about it then the guy grabbing lunch at Save On.
I don't usually pay attention to that kind of stuff, neither do a lot of people who are viewing it and coming away from it with all kinds of feelings/ideas and that's really cool.
For me the initial idea is something like I'd like to look at this stuff in this setting regardless of anything and also that me and my friends and whoever else wants to need an excuse to make huge fun canvases. It's not something I can motivate myself enough to do just around the house, it's really fun when you know some other people are out there doing the same thing, thinking about what they are going to do, and then all meeting up and being sneaky and going for breakfast which I missed, and watching all the people pass by like 'what the...'
Anyway it's late and I'm rambling.

Anonymous said...

i think i spelled canvases' wrong.
I'd also like to say that it's nice that some of the people involved still want to do it even though they might initally be like 'im not really an artist' because it doesn't matter whether you are or not.
I've also lent out my projector to lots of different people and shown how easy and fun it is to make anything period.
The not suck part is a reference to actually putting effort into the thing itself and then seeing what happens.
If anything truly sucks to me about downtown it's people not hanging out and it not being a fun place to hang out at. But when there's stuff like this to go to and look at it makes fun.
Again. It's late.

multipurpose karen said...

i think most people would agree that you are doing a pretty cool thing but any time anyone puts themselves out there for the purpose of being seen, you know others are going to have to say something about it.

i think the point of suggesting other locations should also be seen as an encouragement to keep going.

Ashley Andel said...

New location--the Arlington. That place has been burnt out for too long, and it's also more obscure a place than Jasper Avenue (to satisfy Amy!).


multipurpose karen said...

that's a block south of jasper. how about boyle mccauley or south edmonton common?

af said...

I think it's unrealistic to say that mccauley or south ed would be accessible or logistically possible to assemble 20 random people and their supplies, most of whom don't drive, for an impromptu install.

when I suggested outyling areas, I didn't think ashley or sheri would be hopping on a bus with their wheat paste and sheets of paper.

why rely on this specific group of people to take on the outer areas? when you think about it, anyone can do it.

I think if people can shift their idea of art, who does it and how we view it (which this project certainly does) then people will have a bit more confidence in their respective stance.

that said, the product should still be trying to say something. if it doesn't, then it's over.

karen said...

when i participated in the first MINS, my only assumptions were that i was going to make a huge piece of art, people would see it in a public place, and it would be destroyed within days.

it was cool to see the debate that unfolded...we should have gotten permission! no, we're revolutionaries! to me, we were just a bunch of friends who wanted to perk up the depressing downtown landscape without going through a lot of red tape.

for me, the point of the project was to have it seen by a large number of passersby in the urban centre. doing this in outlying areas...yes, that would confront the bland homogeneity of the suburbs or the starkness of an industrial zone, but i wanted to see this done in a high traffic area where people might glance at it while off to work or on a coffee break.

whatever the intention, it's obvious some people like it, some don't, some feel "challenged" by the concept, and, let's be honest, others aren't perceptive enough see the difference between it and the advertising around it. i felt a little sad looking at the shredded pieces last night and wondering if the people who ripped them down even noticed it. it's possible they were being mean-spirited, but i suspect they were just drunken yokels who didn't care, who just saw something loosely adhered and tore right through it. i knew it would happen, but it makes me tired.

on the bright side, there was some new art put up in #2-and-a-half, and that is heartening.

Ashley Andel said...

Of course anyone can do it! One aspect I never did like about this project is it's exclusive nature. Basically, only internet junkies and scenesters occupy the ranks--this one fellow asked me how to get involved. I told him, regrettably, that it all 'depends on who you know', which is pigheaded. I should have said 'just do it'.

I guess what's beneficial about our 'assembled cast' is that it's been effective, large in scale and quick. It's a swift kick in the pants for the lazybones, and if people are angered by the collective it could provoke more individual expression out there other than boring Mexican wrestler masks and redundant tagging. A sort of "well, what's stopping me from getting MY friends together or going it alone with a staple gun?" attitude is healthy and encouraged, I'm sure.


Anonymous said...

I like the idea of getting fellow internet junkies togather in the real world once in awhile.
It's also cool to know while you're assembling something that someone else is and someone else and someone else and nobody knows what will happen or what it will look like until we all get together.
And it gets to be a bigger group of people everytime, at the same time, on a large scale like you said. Which is rad.
And I think seeing from this mystery artist that people ARE just doing it anyway regardless.

Ashley Andel said...

Oh, and the lady in the laundromat on my blog is Sheri. I took that picture about, wow, seven years ago!