Some of you will remember that at the end of last year the art project Portrait kicked off on the streets of Notting Hill. Following the exhibition Balloons – which featured an ever-changing selection from the artist’s series of balloon paintings (see below for two examples) – IMPREINT began photographing locals and visitors alike holding a single red balloon and sharing the images with those photographed later in the day.
The project evolved into the hosting of Portrait Day on 1st March this year, when additional photographs of people – locals, tourist, visitors, workers – holding a balloon on the streets of Notting Hill were taken. On that particular day, however, people from all around the world were also invited to take part, taking photographs of themselves and others and submitting these images to the project online.
Portraits by IMPREINT has also always encouraged anyone and everyone to submit images at any time (images can be submitted online via the artist’s Facebook and via email direct to the artist) – and, to date, over one thousand images have been sent in with tens of thousands of likes and followers of the project online. Amazing!
Now, ten months into the project, its results can be viewed at an exhibition at Arancina on Pembridge Road where 500 images adorn the walls of the first floor. As you enter the room, you’ll be taken aback by the sweeping sea of images that cover almost every inch of wall space, with the common theme of a round object (a balloon, of course!) featured in every single one.
Step a little closer and start inspecting the photographs, and you’ll find out much more – or, perhaps, even start to construct your own story about those that you see. It’s immediately apparent that so many corners of the globe are covered – with people from South America to Asia, Africa to Australasia and many more places besides having taken part. You can easily spend your time trying to find out clues about where the people are from which may sometimes be obvious, given famous landmarks in the background, but other times there’s just a brief hint – a particular item of clothing, the decoration of a room or similar.
It’s even fascinating to see how something as simple as holding a balloon is interpreted by people, and how you can really see different personalities shining through. Whilst some images clearly show that some thought has gone into creating the final photograph, others are a little more candid. Some of the images have been taken by IMPREINT on the streets of London and at galleries in the city where he’s held shows this year – even in these shots, where the people involved had little prior knowledge – you can see how some immediately come up with a fun idea or thought about how to present themselves, whilst others take the task of holding a ballon a little more simply. (I must admit, I’m probably in latter category! See below…)
What’s also fascinating is, as IMPREINT himself explains, the project has been fully inclusive and brings together people from a range of backgrounds, religions, culture and even ages – all of whom are now displayed side by side.
The exhibition is open now and will be held until 15th January 2015. I highly recommend that you head down to Arancina to view this delightful and uplifting project whether you have just a few minutes to spare or want to spend time carefully exploring all of the images.
IMPREINT will also be hosting a talk on Portraits the 12th November at the same venue, at which he will also discuss the original Balloons series of works, which started from six paintings created in 2010 and grew to be a collection of exactly one thousand. There will also be a video installation and a debate.
You can find out more about Portraits and IMPREINT – as well as some of his other projects and work – on the website www.impreint.com. More on both Balloons and Portraits can also be found here: Balloons: IMPREINT Exhibition and Artist Talk.
15th October 2014 – 15th January 2015
Talk by IMPREINT
6pm, 12th November 2014
19 Pembridge Road