John Stephen, photo credit James Chang
It’s very hard to know what to expect at a photography exhibition. It’s even harder to know when that exhibition is being held in SWG3 and hosted by two young photographers who promise that beyond photography, there will be live acoustic music and DJs.
In a funny way, it instantly came to remind me of that old adage – that everyone can be an artist. Those whose photography was displayed were not professional photographers, yet few would deny that they were talented, nor very committed. The pieces on display, printed in extraordinary resolution on canvasses, furnished an otherwise sparse warehouse room and were lit by some stage lighting. It was perhaps what one might expect from this sort of event – a great deal of visual impact.
However, to a very great extent, the true curiosity of the evening came from those in attendance. In a stroke of creativity by the hosts, a blank canvass was left in the centre of the room with a few pens. Nobody was told they could draw, but the first hesitant pen-stroke being uncontested, an evening of doodles began.
In the doodles, one saw the odd mix of Glasgow folk – aged 17-67 one host later confirmed – the evening had brought. From the adeptly drawn and sophisticated content, in-keeping with the champagne on offer; to the Pac Man and Pokémon doodles, perhaps more in-keeping with the Budweiser on sale next door, the canvass began to take shape. For 3 hours it developed, and the cynical amongst us marvelled as a blank canvass in Glasgow was graffitied, not with phalluses, but with art.
The evening itself very much embodied this theme. With funding from the Lottery Fund, the event aimed to raise money for the local charity Project Ability,
which aims to provide visual art workshops to people with disabilities and people with mental illnesses of all ages.
With a silent auction of the work, one imagines the fundraising will have been a great success. Despite not having known what really to expect from the event, I left having been introduced to people with varying expertise in photography and who were keen for everyone to be involved. Upon leaving, it also became clear that despite the event being attended by a range of very skilled artists, the blank canvass had not escaped the wrath of the traditional Glasgow doodle. Everyone is an artist, even those who like to draw phalluses on canvass.d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’).appendChild(s);