The “I’m glad you’re alive!” print is an on-going work of production and distribution. I am giving the prints away free of charge to anyone who wants one, as a performative act; a love-letter to all humanity. So far I have given away over 2,800 prints and plan to keep producing and distributing prints until the woodblock wears out, or I do. In this way, the work continues to grow and expand, geographically, temporally, and through social connections. The print has found its way into homes on five continents.
The short phrase ‘I’m glad you’re alive!” may seem trite and ephemeral but it is open to interpretation. If we can imagine treating all people as if we are truly glad they’re alive, it has implications for our approach towards people, politics, economics and human rights. I am trying to open up those ideas through this work. I am questioning ideas of the transactional relationship, and the meaning of gift.
A pile of free prints has featured in most of my solo shows since 2014.
For three days in 2014 I stood on London’s South Bank distributing the print to anyone who approached me to ask what I was doing.
The optimism and generosity of my project attracted my colleague, WSA graduate Lydia Heath to propose a joint exhibition where we would seek to create a dialogue between our two bodies of work. Lydia’s work uses found objects and
“…assemblages that explore ideas of dystopia. I am interested in the role art plays in imagining alternative futures, and the various social action groups discussing the possible end of capitalism and what will replace it.” (Heath: 2014, p3)
Heath’s work creates an interesting contrast and counterpoint to my printed multiples. Our vision of a joint exhibition was realised at OpenHand OpenSpace in Reading in January 2014 and, judging by the feedback from visitors, we were successful in staging a thought-provoking show.