street art, street art, rar rar rar, or, Magic In the Strangest Places

by Sayraphim on August 31, 2008

I love street art, especially of the unusual kind. Whether it’s coming across a lovingly handcrafted toy carefully protected in a plastic zip lock bag thanks to the Toy Society or walking past a street sign with a knitted cosy as the work of Knitta Please, there’s something magical about finding like that on the street. I remember walking down a laneway in Melbourne a few years ago and coming across a tiny baby doll that had been made over into a Bondage Baby by Ghetto Kitty. The feeling of finding something secret that someone had left jsut for people like me was thrilling.

On a sort of side note, but not really, I remember being in London and walking back to the hostel only to find a Banksy stencil painted on it’s wall. In it, the rat holds a sign in which someone has scrawled LONDON DOESNT WORK and I remember spending some time standing there trying to figure out if the person who painted it wrote that or if someone else had come along and written it after. Either way, I was so excited I photographed it. Of course, I was so happy to be in London, somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit, that I pretty much photographed everything, up to and including every meal I had. I was only there for three days, so there isn’t that many photos of meals, but still…

ANYWAY, I found a new and incredible website today that I wanted to share. Little People is exactly the stuff I love. Tiny little streetscapes, moments captured in miniture and left in London streets. Like the the photo to the right. Just incredible work. And for nothing but the art. I love the idea of people working long and hard to create an amazing and magical experience for someone.

Actually, it reminds me of something I witnessed in 2002, a sort of unintentional street peformance. I wrote it up as a poem. It was 2002 after all, we were all poets back then.

Magic in the strangest places
Coming home from work
Leaning my head against the glass
A tramp got onto the tram
His hair was wild
His jacket open
He wore no shirt.
His movements were jerky,
High speed
As if someone had the fast forward button
Pointed only at him.
He bent over an empty seat
And quickly,
Reached into his huge bag
And pulled out a little toy clown
With a porcelain smile.
He bent it into sitting shape
And plonked it unceremoniously down.
He quickly shuffled to the next empty seat
And repeated the process.
To a third
Then a fourth seat
He plonked another sitting clown down.
Then, without seeing to their fares
Or their comfort
He got off at the next stop and shuffled down the street.
[his work here was done?]
And the other commuters turned to each other
A little bewildered, and smiled
Caught each others eyes
And grinned

They started talking, where before there was only empty stares out blackened windows.
A broken man with a powerful smell had somehow united the travellers in a way I have never seen before
A magician with insane hair casting a spell with clown dolls.

By the time we reached my stop
Still no one had moved them
From the seats he had placed them,
As if moving the dolls would shatter their newfound bubble.

What the poem doesn’t relate was that when we got to my stop, no-one had touched any of the clowns, and I couldn’t bare the thought of the tram getting to the depot and someone who hadn’t witnessed the event jsut tossing the clowns out. So I walked down the tram collecting all the clowns and I took them home. I even used them in an exhibition, Dirty Wonderland, years later.

I love this kind of magic.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

The Toy Society August 31, 2008 at 9:25 am

Those Little People are just all kinds of fabulous aren’t they!

Sayraphim August 31, 2008 at 10:32 pm

Oh my god yes! How incredible of the artist, and how magical to walk past them in the street? Oh, I’m such a fan!

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