At the start of the year, The Guide to Notting Hill mentioned a year-long and exceedingly fun project by the artist IMPREINT, Portraits – one that anyone and everyone is encouraged to participate in!
Kickstarted in December on the streets of Notting Hill (when, in just a few hours, over 100 people took part), the project has also been running online via the official Facebook page where anyone can submit a photo of themselves holding a balloon. And it’s clearly been very popular – I was surprised but very happy to see over 15,500 ‘likes’ on the page (as of this morning)…you lot have been busy!
It’s exciting news, therefore, that the next Portraits Day is taking place on 1st March 2014. The day will be ‘based’ in Notting Hill, but is in fact taking place at shops and cafes and with artists all over the world (good news if you’re reading this from somewhere that isn’t West London!).
In Notting Hill’s case, the day will be centred around Arancina on Pembridge Road (where IMPREINT’s work is currently being exhibited). Pop by from 11am to have your picture taken; IMPREINT himself will be at Arancina from 7pm. Last time, many ‘subjects’ returned in the evening to collect a photo of themselves (they had been printed out), having it signed by the artist!
We thought we would ask IMPREINT a few questions to find out more about the project:
Portraits is such a fun project, it’s really hard not to raise a smile when looking at the photos! I know about your previous series Balloons – what was behind the idea to make the leap into Portraits?
It was a natural step. When I was painting the 1000 balloons always remind me the people with all these differences and beautiful ‘imperfections’.
Have you received any images from some ‘unusual’ places?
Yes, followers really astonish me with their initiatives and enthusiasm. I thank to all of them, I have a deep respect for what they are doing. I feel connected, part of them and I’m honored.
Did you expect to receive so many ‘participants’? Do you have a target for how many you might like by the end?
Surprise me how many feel this project. I want to keep it spontaneous and alive, everyone has to feel that he can do it wherever it is and whatever is his economical condition. Participation is global and my intention is to extend the voice especially where there are not a lot of opportunities, bring a dream, a prospective, a hope. I will not change the world with a balloon, but I know that ‘Portraits’ make us think and be united. I don’t know where we will go all together and I find this aspect of the project fantastic!
Why is Notting Hill – apart from it being a great area 🙂 – the base?
Notting Hill is the base where I started a ‘Balloons’ exhibition for one month then I became very close to the place and the owner that host the show, Michele. So we continued to extend due also his entranced talking about the balloons. I decided then to start and run this project of one year in his place, is my sign of friendship to him and personal homage to the area.
What was the reaction to the first Portraits Day in December – how did people take to posing with balloons?
That’s a good question, I wasn’t there until the afternoon! I like to create public events where I give my idea and general coordination but then I leave the things to themselves to breathe, to become social. I assist but it’s not usual that I participate directly because I’m not looking for an exposition of me and I like to share any time is possible. Is the concept that I want to create not my persona.
Can we hear a brief background on your other work?
I started to present the Balloons in August 2013 but it’s an idea of 2011. I created a lot in these years but work need to be exposed with a logic and let’s say also with a strategy. Some work have been already shown like the exHibition. In the next period I will start to expose other works, for example the ‘white frame collection’ that is a series of collage paintings started in 2010 buying and adapting frames from the charity shops to express my concepts ‘charity before profit’.
Thank you very much, IMPREINT, for answering these questions. Please see his website at www.impreint.com for more details on his work.
Make sure you attend Portraits Day in Notting Hill on 1st March 2014!