Funny signs – is this art?

One of my ideas for the Powis Castle project I am in the middle of at the moment is to make some signs to be put here and there around the gardens. These signs will contain quotes overheard by me made by visitors to the castle about, well, I’m not sure what yet, but about the castle in some way. The idea is to allow other visitors to read about what people have said about the castle and to have their thoughts provoked. I hope that I get to overhear some funny, insightful, quirky, intelligent, amusing, poignant and interesting things. I haven’t heard any yet because the castle has only just opened up for the season to the public.

Signs - a bit like this but more interesting

Signs – a bit like this but more interesting

If I pursue this idea, if the staff at Powis agree to it, then this will be a new departure for me. My other ideas for the project are about drawing, painting and animation.

I have always been a person who draws and paints (albeit more recently moving into the realm of video). I have always been above averagely able to draw and paint and therefore its been the thing I do to express myself. I’ve never been any other sort of artist. I’m not particularly ‘modern’ in my practice (or I’ve never felt so). I’m not an artist who would might describe themselves as a conceptual artist or a community artist. I usually associate that sort of art with performance and I’m certainly no good at that sort of thing (if you were in my Zumba class you’d agree).

I'm there somewhere...

I’m there somewhere…

Is my signs idea art? I think so. Of course I would, otherwise I’d be calling myself a fake. I wonder how many other people would agree with me though?

A few months’ ago I wrote about yarn bombing. There is another sort of bombing that has interested me recently and which partly inspired my ‘signs’ idea: London Underground sign bombing (if that is the right name). The people responsible for these signs describe themselves as guerrilla artists. It is the word ‘artist’ that is key here to me. They are just making signs (and probably not even making them themselves) so in what respect are they artists?

This is amusing and thought-provoking - it is art

This is amusing and thought-provoking – it is art

Not all the signs are amusing yet meaningful (a good combination). But like with any art form there are good artists and bad ones.

Some are funny and thought-provoking, and others are just funny

Some are funny and thought-provoking, and others are just funny

What is an artist? Is it someone who has a skill in the visual sense? Or is it someone who has something interesting to say? I think it is a combination of these. An artist is someone who has something interesting to say and they are able to say it in a sensual way (i.e. of the five senses – whether it be visual (moving or still) or words, conversation, smell, taste or touch). So by making my signs to go around the Powis Castle gardens I am still being an artist. Phew, that’s ok then.

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