Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Selected Artist's Projects

WLTM selected Artist Alex Staiger has invited The Director to her show 'WON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN' at Cafe Gallery Projects, London.
Alex's video 'Princess Penang Episode Two: Marshmallow Magic' (2007) will be screened and she will be doing a Live 'Princess Penang Healing Ceremony' at the Private view on the 13th of September at about 4pm.Unfortunately the Director has now retired, and so will not be able to make it; but perhaps some of you will?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What happened at the WLTM Event?

Saturday morning we worked on the finishing touches to the WLTM exhibition - there were only a few things to do, the main one being that selected artist Elena Cassidy-Smith came in to repair a little bit of damage that had occurred to her piece in the post. I was happy with the layout of the show, and I was really pleased with how the posters looked with the works of art. I see the posters as elaborate labelling devices - giving a clue as to each individual artist's identity - and developed from their questionnaires.At around 2 The Director's team of trusty helpers arrived to help set up the event's refreshments, P.A. system and data equipment.
Then all that remained was for me to make the transformation from Anna Francis to The Director. This involved the donning of a coral power jacket with shoulder pads and gold buttons, gold shoes with kitten heels, a clip-on ponytail and of course the Director's famous nail varnish, in flamboyant coral.
Then there was just enough time for some dutch courage before the artist's and viewers began to arrive.
Artist Wayne Thexton surprised the Director with a bouquet of flowers.
The Director met each artist as they arrived and explained what would be happening and gave each a name badge so that they could recognise each other. Above: The Director greets Andrew Martyn Sugars and Christine Gray.
Above: the Director greets Steffie Richards.Above the Director meets Alex Staiger and gives her a name badge.
Above and Below: The viewer's have time to have a look at the show before the introductions get underway.Then the WLTM main event got underway - the Introductions. Above: The Director played a wind-up music box into the microphone to announce the opening of the event, the tune - Edith Piaf's La Vie En Rose.
Then the Director explained the WLTM selection process; and showed the pile of over 600 artist comparison forms.Then the Introductions began: The first of WLTM's perfect pairs were artists Lindsey Cotterill and Steffie Richards. Each artist had prepared a 'Burning Question' which they put to their perfect partner during the Introduction: I will put all of the burning questions and answers up later. Above: Lindsey and Steffie meet for the first time.Lindsey and Steffie's favourite colour is blue, they are both non-smokers who eat healthily and at a party both of them would describe themselves as an average mingler. Below: Steffie Richards 'Sculpture: Shy' and Lindsey Cotterill's 'Nightlines' are exhibited together.

Steffie’s poster relates to her use of the word ‘bear’ in her description of herself on the questionnaire, and the colour of the bears relates to her and her match’s favourite colours. Lindsey’s poster relates to the fact that on her questionnaire she mentioned that her perfect date would involve an evening of Latin American & Ballroom dancing (preferably with lessons first), and also as above the colours of the bears depicted relate to her and her match’s favourite colours.

The next of the WLTM perfect pairs to meet were Michelle Greenwood and Andrew Martyn Sugars. Here they are meeting above. Michelle and Andrew are regular drinkers that describe themselves as independent, realistic and funny. Below: Michelle Greenwood's '100 Days' and Andrew Martyn Sugars 'Tick As Appropriate.'

Michelle’s poster relates to the fact that she is a Libra. Andrew’s poster relates to his ‘jokey, non-serious’ approach to WLTM, and his seeming interest in playing the clown.

The third WLTM perfect pair to be introduced were Elena Cassidy-Smith and Christine Gray. Elena and Christine are vegetarians who both enjoy a regular alcoholic beverage, they describe themselves as experimental and philosophical. Below: Elena Cassidy-Smith's 'Gift Shop' and Christine Gray's 'Intimate Spaces.'

Elena’s poster relates to the fact that when asked what would best describe her character at a party, she said she could best be described as a social butterfly.

Christine’s poster relates to her interest in nature and the way that she seems to enjoy creating alternate spaces for magic to happen, out of the detritus of the everyday.

The fourth couple to be introduced were Katie Hollender and Claire Flint. Katie and Claire are non-smokers who enjoy the occassional drink and describe themselves as experimental and independent. Below: Katie Hollender's 'Child' and Claire Flint's 'Red and White Dusted.'

Katie’s poster relates to her description of herself as an experimental, confident young woman, seemingly on the brink of discovering the possibilities that might be available to her. Claire’s poster relates to her answer to the question; if you were an animal, what animal would you be. Claire said she would be a tiger.

Next it was time to introduce couple number 5 - Sarah Turner and Yvette Hawkins. Unfortunately neither one of this pair could make it to the event; so they conducted a long distance relationship. They wrote to each other - with a Burning question, and then replied to each others question. The Director read the results out to the audience.

Sarah Turner to Yvette Hawkins:

What are you afraid of?
ANSWER: I am afraid I may never fold all the pages in the world, that books will no longer be needed. I am afraid I will never learn how to drive and that when I do I will kill someone. I am afraid of squishing slugs between my toes in the bathroom when I get up in the middle of the night to use the toilet, I am afraid I will never see Korea again, that I'll forget the route to Grandma's house and good Young Hua and bad Young Hua (my cousins) won't remember me. I am afraid of looking down very long spiral staircases I am afraid of looking up them (though I always do) I am afraid of the sea at midnight in the same way I am afraid of being flung threw the air by very fast fairground rides with fancy names, I am afraid of buying whole milk instead of semi skimmed. I am afraid of EAST 17. I am afraid of sudden collapses in public places, of celery, of sitting on my cat by accident, of wearing my clothes inside out at interviews, of farting during sex, of losing my keys, of laughing inappropriately, of child beauty pageants. I am afraid I have never loved, afraid I will never love, I am afraid you never loved me anyway, I am afraid the last one sounded a bit like a Corrs song, I am afraid I'm not as cool as you, I am afraid of arthritis when I'm old, I'm afraid of a painful death, afraid of a slow painful death, afriad that there's nothing after death.

Yvette Hawkins to Sarah Turner:

If you could choose only one memory to take with you into the afterlife, which memory would you choose?

ANSWER: The second time I went to Bexhill on Sea to see my boyfriend, it took me 9 hours to get there. We sat chatting for hours. It was beautiful. That’s when I knew I loved him.

Below: Yvette Hawkins' 'I Opened My Mouth and You Fell Out' and Sarah Turner's 'Beds'.'

Yvette’s poster relates to the fact that she is a smoker, and that in general her approach to life involves looking at the world in a new and enlightened way; turning it on it’s head.

Sarah’s poster relates to the fact that she described herself as shy, and also said that if she were an animal she would be a bird.

The last of WLTM's perfect pairs to be intyroduced was Wayne Thexton and Alex Staiger. Wayne had brought a bunch of sunflowers for Alex, which was certainly a smooth touch. Alex and Wayne are the same age and both are non-smokers. When asked if you were an animal what animal would you be they both said a deer. Below: Wayne Thexton's 'Perch' and Alex Staiger's 'Chance Me.'

Wayne’s poster relates to the fact that when asked what his favourite book was he said The Hippopotamus by Stephen Fry. Alex’s poster relates to the fact that she is a performer and also that she is from New York.

Then the Director thanked all of the 34 artists that applied to the WLTM dating agency, and in particular of course the 6 perfect pairs, and the audience for coming to see the show; and then said goodbye. Then the artists and viewers were left to their own devices; to go and have a look at the show, mingle and talk to their matches. Below: Christine and Elena looking at their paired-up work.
Below: Michelle Greenwood having a chat with Steffie Richards.
Below: The End of the Director; her ponytail, jacket and shoes discarded by her desk, and the waste paper bin, full of her cotton wool balls which she used to take off her nail varnish each day, in order to apply a fresh coat.I (Anna Francis) would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the 34 artists that applied to the WLTM dating agency and of course especially the 12 that were selected, for being part of the exhibition and taking part in the event. I would also like to thank everyone at HMS for being so welcoming, and Jackie Berridge in particular for the opportunity, and the amazing support, advice and help throughout my residency. Thanks to Phil Rawle for the design of the posters and flyers, thanks to AirSpace for the technical help and loan of equipment for the event; thanks to Staffordshire University for the funding help and a special thank you to Glen and Dee for their wonderful photographic skills, which made the above post possible. I love you all. xxx

Monday, September 1, 2008


The WLTM Event took place on Saturday, and judging by the number of visitors to the event and initial feedback from those that were there it seems to have been a success.
The Director seemed to enjoy orchestrating the meeting of the artists; and she certainly enjoyed the 3 bouquets of flowers that she received. Pictured above is the Director's desk, with all of the WLTM questionnaires in their respective boxes (in or out) and the beautiful flowers delivered Saturday mroning - a gift from The Director's sister - more arrived later from her brother - wow. And below a close-up of the Director's nail varnish (flamboyant coral) nail varnish remover and the Director's breath mints (which were a gift from Jackie Berridge).

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Building the show

Just waiting for the last 3 pieces to be delivered for WLTM - these are all set to arrive tomorrow, and I have already planned out an initial idea of where everything is set to go.
Today I have been filling any holes in the walls, sanding back and then repainting ready for putting up the posters tomorrow.
There will be a few challenges for me tomorrow - caused by the fact that the posters are all A1 portrait, and some of the pieces which the artists initially put forward have actually changed, or are bigger than the original stipulation (stating that objects needed to fit inside a shoe box) this means that there will be a bit of juggling to do; and perhaps some creative decision making...but this is all part of the very interesting curatorial process.
I picked up the A1 posters from the printers yesterday, and I am really pleased with how they have turned out. There is a matt, reproduced quality to them which is in keeping with their original context, as circus posters can have a faded look when pasted up on billboards for a while, faded in the sun and degraded by the rain. Also yesterday I met the photographer from Stoke-on-Trent's local paper, The Sentinel. They are doing a piece about my practice in order to plug WLTM for the 'Your weekend' section in Saturday's paper. We went to a site in Stoke where some properties have recently been demolished in order to do a portrait of me in a context which fits my general practice, and we ended up getting into trouble with soem sort of site security guy who said that people aren't allowed on the sites of demolished properties. This is a strange idea, there are no barriers to stop anyone wandering on , and no signs, but we got our pictures anyway.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


5 out of the 12 pieces for the WLTM exhibition have already been delivered to HMS, which is good news and means I can start to think about how the show is going to be put together for real...rather than on paper and in my mind.
There are set to be some challenges as a number of large pieces have already been delivered, but I am looking forward to starting to put the work up in the Standing Room.
The business of sending out press releases and drumming up interest is under way now, and I hope to get some press coverage. I have been busy the last few days promoting the exhibition in a number of places; so hopefully we will have a good turn out on the day.

Other exciting news: The Director's suit has arrived!

Friday, August 15, 2008


I can now reveal the 6 perfect pairs, and therefore the 12 artists who have been selected for the WLTM exhibition. They are:

Sarah Turner and Yvette Hawkins
Katie Hollender and Claire Flint
Alex Staigers and Wayne Thexton
Lindsey Cotterill and Steffie Richards
Andrew Martyn Sugars and Michelle Greenwood
Christine Gray and Elena Cassidy-Smith

The process of calibrating the percentage comparisons itself took much longer than I had originally envisaged; I think that this was due to the healthy number of applicants and then the number of questions on the dating agency questionnaire. Each applicants questions had to be compared with each of every other applicants questions.
It may be a good point to reveal the questions, and the system for working out the percentages from the dating agency questionnaire.
AGE: If the applicants were within 5 years of each other then they received 10 points, within 10 years 5 points, otherwise 0 points.

STAR SIGN: If the applicants were the same star sign or perfectly compatible matches they received 10 points; if their star signs were deemed to be fairly good matches then they received 5 points.

LIFESTYLE: The applicants had to have chosen exact matches to receive 10 points in the lifestyle section.
Eating Habits: Eat most things, Eat healthily, Vegetarian or Vegan.
Smoking habits: Never, Occasionally, Regular or Excessively.
Drinking Habits: Never, Occasionally, Regular or Excessively.

PERSONALITY TRAITS: The applicants were asked; Which most accurately describe your approach as an artist? Choose 5 from, Political, Funny, Mild, Realistic, Adventurous, Generous, Moody, Sarcastic, Ambitious, Happy, Optimistic, Sensible, Cautious, Independent, Outgoing, Shy, Confident, Intelligent, Outspoken, Stable, Daring, Loving, Pessimistic, Thoughtful, Easygoing, Dedicated, Philosophical, Experimental, Avant garde, Melancholy, Quiet and Wild. They received 5 points for each match.

Then the applicants were asked; which 5 words are most important to your practice?
Concept, Intervention, Colour, Collaborative, Experiment, Installation, Form, Interactive, Make, Sculpture, Visual, Individual, Build, Painting, Spatial, Inclusive, Design, Photograph, Skilled, Experiential, Research, Web, Technical, Site specific, Develop, Sound, Performance, Cumulative, Exhibit, Video, Aesthetic and Print. Again they received 5 points for each match.
Other questions:
What is your favourite Colour? The applicants received 10 points if their chosen favourite colour matched or 5 points if they were complimentary colours.
What is your favourite film? Applicants received 10 points if their favourite films were an exact match, or 5 points if they were within the same genre (according to IMDB)
What is your favourite book? 10 points: Exact match, 5 points: Same genre according to Amazon.)
What is your favourite meal? 10 points: Exact match, 5 points: Same Country of origin.
What would you do on your perfect date? 10 points for an exact match, or 5 points for a similar type of activity.
Then the applicants were asked:
At a party what would you be? A barfly, A cruiser, A gatecrasher, A party-pooper, A wallflower, A social butterfly, The life and soul, An average mingler, An exhibitionist or An impartial observer. They received 10 points for an exact match or 5 points for a compatible choice.
Who would play you in the movie of your life? 10 points for the same person; and 5 points if the 2 chosen would make a good pair in a film.
If you were an animal what animal would you be? 10 points for the same animal, and 5 if the 2 animals would get on.
How would you describe your political position? Choose One; 10 points for an exact match and 5 for a reasonably compatible match.
Anarchic, Communist, Conservative, Green, Labour, Left of centre, Liberal, Right of centre, Socialist or Uninterested
Which rules you the most: Choose one; 10 points for an exact match and 5 points for a reasonable match.
Heart, Head, Time, Money, Opportunity, Pleasure, Work or Family.
What makes you happy? 10 points for an exact match and 5 for a reasonable match.
What makes you sad? 10 points for an exact match and 5 for a reasonable match.
Object for submission title and media used: 10 points for exactly the same medium, 5 points for a reasonable match.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Limited Edition WLTM Postcard!

I have been working on a limited edition post card for WLTM this evening. I am going to get just 100 printed and they will only be available at the WLTM event on Saturday, 30th August between 3 and 4pm at HMS - so if you want one you will only be able to get your hands on one by attending. Really it is because I would like to mark the occasion by giving something to the artists and viewers that come. But here is an idea of what it will be like: