As the British government launches a new campaign to encourage creatives nationwide to retrain and find employment elsewhere (ahem), Stuart Semple has launched the Artist Job Centre in the heart of London's theatreland.
According to Semple, he has also nominated Basil Brush as the official "spokes-animal" for the project. Brush and Semple will be on-site today, if you're interested, to answer questions from anyone keen to find out more. Jobs on display include Toilet Attendant, Bread Slicer, Motorway Line Painter, and Potato Handler... even a Factory Carrot Quality Control, so there are plenty of options if you're also looking for a new profession.
Playfully interactive yet poignant and critical, the 'Artist Job Centre' installation is a timely love letter to the arts at a time when so many of us are struggling to find work. "It's really important that we all follow the government's guidelines when it comes to Covid, and that includes artists," says Semple. "I understand retraining might be daunting for those who have dedicated their lives to perfecting a craft, so hopefully the AJC will make that transition easier. With things as they are with the economy, we don't have many jobs going, but we will do our best to find artists work where we can."
Semple is renowned worldwide for bringing art to all. Previous projects include his 'Happy Cloud' performance from Tate Modern, where he flooded the London skyline with pink smiley soap clouds, and the 'Emotional Baggage Drop' installed in Denver's iconic Union Station for the city-wide 'Happy City'. More recently, we enjoyed being able to apply for an artistic licence, to label ourselves as artists officially. (You can apply for a licence here.)
As we've come to expect from Semple, his work explores and addresses our essential, universal concerns, such as mental health, community welfare, the democratisation of the art world and access to the arts, in terms of both experience and creative participation.
He's perhaps best-known for his pioneering stance in what has become famously known as the 'Art Wars' – an elaborate piece of internet performance art tackling the themes of accessibility, equality and elitism head-on. Instigated by Anish Kapoor's exclusive acquisition of Vantablack and starting with the creation of the 'Pinkest Pink' (available to all but Kapoor), this has evolved to become a global platform for disseminating art to all who want it.
The newly launched 'Artist Job Centre' aims to shine a light on the "great artistic talents of our time across all disciplines" and "scrutinises a leadership that questions the inherent value of creativity deep within our society".
To pop along, the installation is on Neal Street in Covent Garden. Social distancing is in place. Therefore visits are by appointment only. Find out more at stuartsemple.com.