London Underground is a great place for art - impromptu performance art, educational text-based displays, satirical artistic responses to political situations... there are Poems on the Underground, musicians, performers... If you've ever wanted to contribute your artwork to this sprawling world of underground artistic expression and fancy having a go in a medium a little more sophisticated than sticking chewing gum over the eyes of models in adverts running alongside escalators, then get clicking on the Art Below website.
Art Below is an organisation that brings original artworks onto London Underground. Previous campaigns have involved turning Knightsbridge station into an art gallery complete with private view and placing new artworks right across the underground network in place of adverts. The organisation operates for one reason: "Turning ad space into art space" - it is an act of reclaiming public attention away from consumerism and also a way to give exposure on a massive scale to new and emerging artists.
A new campaign is due to start in late April / early May and submissions are now being accepted - go to the applications part of the website for information on how to get your work included. We're quite impressed by what seems to be the opportunity to choose which station your work can have as gallery space. 25 artists will be chosen for the two-week display and all artists have their own page on the Art Below website and can sell their work through the site. As part of the organisation's mission, artists receive 100% of the sale of the original artwork and 30% of all income from posters of their original work. We're not very involved in the world of buying and selling art but we know a good deal when we see one - and this seems like a good deal.
There is, quite literally, nothing to lose. We're considering how far a Londonist submission will go: wouldn't it be great to see a masterpiece from the Touch-Up London school of Photoshop Mash-Ups leering at you at the bottom on the Tottenham Court Road escalators! And how magnificent to one day be part of an archaeological dig and for historians to gaze wonderingly at our comic "big willy drawn on the Tate Modern chimney" poster and sigh for the bygone era of truly inspired hand drawn art...
Image shows Queen by Charles XJ Zhao, presented by Art Below at Bank DLR station in the February 2007 exhibition. For more information on the artist, go to his page on the Art Below site here.