Did you know that an estate car and two artists with easels can fit comfortably into a multi-storey parking bay? “Art on the Street” as a name struck a chord with my own heart, so I signed up to receive news of the doings of this Maidenhead-based venture when I encountered them at the Reading Contemporary Art Fair. Noticing they were advertising an art competition, I knew what Amanda’s answer would be when I asked her “Fancy a trip to Maidenhead”? It was all very finely-timed. Our diaries allowed us only one free day in which to paint and deliver original artworks depicting Maidenhead, a town neither of us knew, before the closing date. So yesterday we set off from Newbury just before 10, and drove to Maidenhead centre (with a short stop-off to reconnoitre the Islamic centre, a park, the back of the fire station and a church). Dismissing these quickly as subjects; after all, we needed to be true to the competition theme: Maidenhead and Me, depicting what Maidenhead meant to us, we finally arrived, just on 11 a.m., at the top deck of the multistorey car park, and found our spot. We set up our easels in the bay we’d parked in so as to cause no disruption, and started to paint. Amanda had a vantage point overlooking terraced town houses, and I, facing the opposite way, fulfilled a secret long-cherished ambition to paint the curling architecture of the spiral down-ramp of a multi-storey. The paintings we produced in two and a half hours were probably not our greatest works, but we got them delivered and handed in with our completed entry forms to Boville’s Art Shop, and came home pleased with ourselves having had a lot of fun, back in time for Amanda to meet her children after school. I wasn’t quite sure why I felt so pleased, but reflecting afterwards, perhaps it’s because our mission statement as Artikinesis expresses the aim of taking art into places where art isn’t usually created or displayed. We’d done just that, on our multi-storey car-park roof.
As Amanda commented, “The British public are very polite”. Although I’d half expected security guards to spot us on CCTV and come up to move us on, in fact nobody betrayed any surprise at our impromptu open-air studio. A toddler dragged his mum over to have a look at us, and one chap, parking in the bay next door, asked me if it was OK to park there, worrying he might be blocking my view. Other than that, and a few well-wishers, we were respectfully left to get on with it. All entries to the Maidenhead and Me competition will be displayed in Nicholson’s Shopping Centre from September 26th.
Making art wherever we happen to be
Fired and inspired by nature – by life in the modern world
Connecting with places where art is a stranger
Artikinesis – inner vision, interaction, movement and spirit.