Designer Ben Terrett and writer and strategist Russell Davies have made it all the way to the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition with their half-and-half art scarves project. The show is in its 250th year, curated this time by Grayson Perry, and is the oldest open submission exhibition in the world. Anyone can enter, and the show features an eclectic range of work, established and emerging artists alike, so Terrett and Davies set out to join its prestigious ranks with their Half-and-Half Art project.
“Half-and-half scarves are a modern phenomenon,” Terrett says. They’re based on football scarves in their design, but with the key difference that they feature both teams on the same scarf – something that irritates “real” fans, Terrett says, and makes them more of a garish tourist souvenir. During one of their regular early morning cafe visits, Terrett and Davies were discussing these quirks of modern memorabilia and posited the idea of making an art version, with the sole intention of getting them into the RA Summer Exhibition. The idea was born, and the duo set about developing it.
Since half-and-half scarves usually depict the face-off between two teams, Terrett and Davies’ art versions represent conflicts from art history, with Van Gogh v Gauguin given the same gaudy treatment as Man City vs Man United would.
“It just seemed obvious to do artists, and we are big fans of doing the most obvious thing,” Ben tells It’s Nice That. “We wanted it to look and feel like a real half-and-half scarf, so that means it needed to have that aggressive hyped-up Sky Sports aesthetic – where everything is the battle to end all battles. This Mitchell and Webb Look sketch sums it up well.
“More than just the aesthetic, we tried to find real conflicts in art. For example The Battle of Cascina was a wall in Florence painted by Michelangelo where on the adjacent wall, the Battle of Anghiari was painted by Leonardo da Vinci. Imagine if that had been televised on pay per view. Imagine the scarves!”
The results were then printed via an online half-and-half scarf print shop, and entered into the show. The rest is (art) history. Feeling a little like a football pundit, I ask how it feels to get the result they were looking for. “It feels great,” says Terrett. “It means we are artists now. It’s official. Expect more art.”
Though the “actual work” has sold, you can buy an individual scarf, “cheaper and more practical than the actual’ work,’” says Terrett, from www.halfandhalfart.com.