Birmingham is a city that has had its share of bad press – enduring decades as the lazy punchline of a sneering Jeremy Clarkson style joke. But anyone lucky enough to have experienced Britain’s second city knows that recent years have witnessed a Renaissance in the Venice of the Midlands (it’s do with canals).
Another artistic string to the Brummie bow has come courtesy of the EC Arts 48 Sheet project which is inviting artists to take over 100 billboards across the city throughout April, creating an unusual al fresco urban art gallery. Pick of the work comes from the brilliant Ben Long, whose blurred digital prints not only wrong-foot passing motorists but also explores the idea of images losing their potency through ubiquitous representation.
“These artworks could be taken simply as a subversion of representational art because they appear to disrupt the traditional values of painting and present abstraction as high octane thrill-seeking,” Ben says.
“But I also think there is a cautionary meaning in there too, which is to do with how the historic can be manipulated and used as a commodity, and how we have become over-saturated with paintings by artists such as Constable to the point that we are no longer able to see them clearly. The Hay Wain is a perfect example of that because it appears on greetings cards and biscuit tins – my Nanna even has Constable place mats that she brings out when guests come to dinner! Rarely are we afforded a direct and pure experience of art. The reproduction is how we’re constantly receiving information and in a commercial world the meaning and original intention of these artworks become subtly distorted given enough time."
- Submit Saturdays: Tips for Social Media
- New Originals: introducing the London Rollergirls
- The best things on the internet, readers' comments and who to follow on social media
- Our A-Z Guide to the UK's 2016 Graduate Shows
- LGBT in advertising: “What we need now is bravery"
- Images packed with life, leather and charm in Bex Day's new series for Pylot
- The new Sagmeister & Walsh website has a live feed from a snake enclosure and a new naked photo (NSFW)
- The Co-op returns to its old “clover leaf” logo from the 1960s
- Sexual, surreal and disturbing: the weird work of super-skilled Claudia Maté
- Don't Hug Me I'm Scared - an exclusive interview with Duck, Red Guy and Yellow Guy
- Anna Ginsburg explores sex and female orgasms in this hilarious animation (NSFW)
- Ace new Laura Callaghan work calls BS on the idea that we can be "whatever we want to be"