|Photos By Andrew Foster. Wanna see more? Check out The Circus of illustration facebook page.|
We made it as democratic as possible, which funnily enough resulted in what looks like anarchy. It was free to join in and the only rules were no swears and no saucy body parts (the rule was broken, but David used his skills to transform the offending article into an elephant). People of all ages, cultures and abilities got stuck in together. Families and individuals arrived to find a welcoming lively creative space.
The room was a shop front, so passing pedestrians would stop, and have a good look at the hustle and bustle of the spectacle inside. Some were intrigued enough to join in and find out more, others took photos. The public seemed genuinely amused with what was happening.
PHEW! It got so hot in there! The south facing glass frontage magnified the heat of the warm September sun. The smell of marker pens mixed with the odour of busy bodies wasn't exactly fragrant, but it didn't seem to bother anyone. Everyone who participated did so with much enthusiasm.
The naughtiness of drawing on walls and furniture, activities that are usually strictly forbidden at home really delighted the children who took part.
We couldn't control what or where stuff was being drawn, so it was a surprise to walk around the room once the shop was emptied. So many little details (a beautifully swirly table leg), and written messages ('Paul Young woz here'), and naughtiness (a catheter attached to a whoopee cushion) and odd characters (a cloud throwing up a rainbow) were discovered.
The day was a huge success. The final head count was almost 250 people over the 6 hours the pop-up shop was open for.
If you want to see the fun results of a day of collaborative buzzing doodling energy, the Drawing Room is at 24 Mill Street in Bedford until 23rd of September. It's opened to go into on Saturday 22nd where you can check out Anne-Marie Stijelja's Mail Art exhibition in the adjacent room!
Finally, a HUGE THANK YOU goes out to Kayte Judge of We Are Bedford. For the Circus, putting on this event has been a doddle compared to all the boring admin, fine-tuning and stressful meetings required for organising these empty shop projects. The behind the scenes work shouldn't go unnoticed and it's not easy to do. So Kayte, on behalf of the Circus of Illustration, we salute you. Thanks for giving us this opportunity to put on our illustration show for Bedford.