Despite the fact that Stuart Perkins is homeless, over the past seven years he has used whatever default resources available, to maintain a creative practice in the form of a news bulletin about homelessness titled Bigfoot News. A champion of self-publishing, Stuart uses internet cafes and Microsoft Publisher, along with a whole load of hand-collaging to create his bulletins that truly embody the spirit of an independent practice.
“It’s all about disseminating your work through whatever means available”, Eilis Searson, the founder of Holy! Holy! Holy! press, tells It’s Nice That. The avid independent publisher adds, “it’s within the publication of the work that a real narrative, discourse and community is built.” Eilis met Stuart last year at London’s, Artists’ Self-Publishers Fair at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA). Eilis and her best friend Harry Stays applied for a table at the fair and one day, Stuart came into the ICA and “explained how he had endeavoured to make a ‘homeless news bulletin’ as often as possible as part of his artist practice since 2011.” Stuart really wanted to apply for a table as well but had no means to do so. With no facilities to make editions of his work, Harry and Eilis decided to let him use their table and Stuart began to “bring piles upon piles of paper” into the ICA. Eilis and Harry scanned and ordered the seven years worth of Stuart’s work, eventually compiling a 150-page document of his works.
The bulletins consist of stories, advice, articles, collages, drawings as well as a “whole lot of word-art”. With Stuart’s DIY process in mind, Eilis and Harry set out to produce editions of the anthology via “whatever means we could get our hands on”. Utilising free photocopying from work and schools and printing the work on any available free paper samples, Bigfoot News came to life in a comb-bound assortment of Stuart’s unbridled artistry.
Bigfoot News is an accessible and honest documentation of the marginalised community of homeless people that are rarely given a voice. The design of the book is simple yet effective. The different sizes of paper and varying paper stocks reflect the ad hoc nature of the bulletin, resourcing materials from wherever possible to record Stuart’s lived experiences. From a note that reports an assault on Stuart at the Hammersmith Crisis, to delicate pencil-drawn landscapes that map the wonderings of the homeless, Bigfoot News is a remarkable insight into Stuart’s life and the lives of others that are frequently overlooked.
The first anthology of Bigfoot News sold out completely at last year’s fair. Selling for unspecified donations that go straight to Stuart, the self-published artist left last year’s fair with a few hundred quid. In the last year, Eilis and Harry have been working with Stuart to release the second anthology of Bigfoot News which will be available at a donation, at this Sunday’s (9 December 2018) Artists Self-Publishers Fair at the ICA. Stuart will be there to help man the stall along with Eilis and Harry, advocating the art of self-publishing, no matter what cost.
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