This year I have discovered that even though I don’t consider myself as an artist, I can still be involved in other peoples works. When Spencer Tunick put a request for volunteers to take part in his ‘Sea of Hull’, I put myself forward even though it was completely out of my comfort zone! It was a brilliant experience and felt great to be part of someone else’s art work.
A few months after, a local artist called Damien Fisher put a call out for people to get involved in his collaborative piece called the ‘Unity Jigsaw’ a project which was incorporated into the ‘Unity’ exhibition which took place last week at Exchange Place Studios hosted and curated by Sharon Mossbeck and Michael Borkowsky.
Damien designed and created a jigsaw with individual pieces numbered 1-35 which all fitted together in a circle symbolic of unity. He asked for people to take a numbered jigsaw piece and take it around with them for three days to record and document the pieces journey in any form they wished.
This was something I felt that I could get involved with so requested a piece of the jigsaw. Damien very kindly accepted my request so I picked it up from gallery 35 on Chapel Walk and was very excited to open my envelope which revealed my jigsaw piece, Number 11.
Three days documented through the medium of photography.
It’s amazing how much you see and things you are drawn to which would usually be dismissed or gone unnoticed.
A cracked eggshell for example on the payment on my way to work and the posture of the pedestrian crossing men.
Here is the journey my piece went on;
A very busy day for our little family! I set off to the gym at 5am and headed back in time for my husband to go to work. A free ticket to Manchester was an opportunity that couldn’t be missed! So took my little boy for a train adventure which he loved.
A bustling new city, greeted by enthusiastic students conducting various science activities for the kiddies to get involved with. Perfect. Green slime, jelly babies, exploding bottles and instrumented cooking trays were defiantly a hit with my little one. A walk to the art gallery where they had an exhibition called fashion and freedom. Short films played on a loop and continued the fascination.
Running round the steps and jumping across the fountains before shopping for daddies birthday present! We headed back to Sheffield and played in the Brutalist Playground at S1 Artspace (if you’ve not been, I would defiantly recommend it as its perfect for a rainy day).
We waited for daddy to finish work then set straight off on our next adventure; a weekend in London. Quick stop for a curry in Watford; a restaurant called the ‘Indian Sizzler’. The decor was amazing with colour changing bubbles lining the bar area, we were mesmerised eating our food!
Off to the flat in London we were staying at and all snuggled up in bed in time for midnight.
A typical day at work, for obvious reasons I was unable to record the entire day however got a couple of token photos on my lunch break to symbolise the 9.5 hours of working in surgery. 6am start to hang out the washing followed by a brisk walk down to the swimming pool. Walk to work which involved random playing cards and eye catching graffiti. Also in my lunch break I completed the Team Theo agreement form ready for Hullabaloobell Charity Event’s next epic! Raising money through hosting fun themed events is also something I’m passionate about doing in my spare time.
Back home from work to do my favourite job of the day; bathing my little boy with tons of Matey bubble bath, singing songs, lots of giggles before reading stories before putting him to bed.
A quiet evening in to write letters to my closest friends and applying for raffle prizes for the next event, getting them in the post and bringing the washing in (I noticed I’m slightly obsessed with washing and ironing as its a seemingly never ending cycle.
A Saturday, a family day. Spent with friends and celebrating new beginnings with a lovely meal at the Milestone at Kelham Island. We walked into town (about 3.5 miles) and had a great time relaxing in the sunshine before handing my jigsaw puzzle piece back the next day.
I really enjoyed being involved with the Unity Jigsaw and was very excited to see how the other 34 people interpreted their missions!
I was keen to ask Damien what inspired him to create this project so I asked him a few questions to find out more;
What inspired you to create the ‘Unity Jigsaw’?
When I first thought of the theme Unity, there was one connection that kept re appearing and no matter where I tried to take this theme conceptually this one link kept appearing. That link was people. As soon as I realized this link, I started to explore how I could work with it. In the past I have created work where the audience is more important than the artist. For these pieces I used questionnaires and then made work responding to the most common themes, however this was the first time I directly allowed the audience to take create the work.
This in itself is very interesting because it brings forth questions like “who is the artist?” Personally I believe every individual response, is a work of art and when the pieces are all brought together there are both united as a collaborative work but also singular artworks by themselves. The idea of created a work that is both unified conceptually and physically is what inspired me to create this work.
What are your favourite or most unusual pieces?
I don’t particular have favourite pieces aesthetically, however there is two pieces that stand out because of the journey those piece had. Piece 31 belonged to young mother going through pregnancy, a few days after she gave me the piece back she gave birth. There is this wonderful photo of her jigsaw piece next to her pregnant belly. The other piece that stood out to me is piece 39. This piece is a map of Amsterdam, this participant took his piece on his honeymoon with him and documented his honeymoon. Because of such amazing responses I will be sending them both a signed jigsaw piece.
Have you got any project in the pipeline?
This month I have been within 3 exhibitions. One was a week before the jigsaw piece. I have 3 exhibitions planed so far this year, however I hope to have more. The only month this year I currently don’t have an exhibition in is December but I am working on that.
The next exhibition I will be in I am really looking forward to. You have to give the gallery an artist statement and you will receive another artist’s statement back, you then have to create work with their artist statement as inspiration. This will hopefully totally push me as an artist because I will be taking my own spin on another artists work.
Keep up to date with more of my work on my Facebook page: Damien Fisher Creative; https://www.facebook.com/DamienFisherCreative/?hc_ref=SEARCH