I am a little over half way through the making and distributing of tracts (see earlier posts for details) As the project progresses I have been trying to work out how to make the work visible to those beyond the tiny portion of public I engage with whilst out on the streets. I have already discussed how the work is validated and the problems of electing to make work outside an informed public but still having the desire to have it recognised as art. In finding ways to spread the work and address these concerns I began hand writing personal letters to a select group of people inviting them to become collectors of the work. I picked 14 people who have influenced the work in some way. This influence ranges from being the first person to follow my blog, to writing a key text that I have used in my research. I will not list the names here suffice to say that I consider each one of true value in my work and dearly value any opinion they may be willing to share.
Each letter written addressed the reason I had chosen to invite that person to collect the work and included the first few tracts in the series. I sent out the letters and waited. This waiting became very uncomfortable as I began to conclude that the work was not strong when removed from its context here in Belfast. This is a definite fear I held. I spoke with a tutor about how to follow-up the letters as sending more out into the world without hope of reply did not appeal to me. It was suggested that I email those I had first written to and say I was getting ready to send the next set of tracts and an update on the project and asking did they wish to be included. On opening my laptop to begin I found my first reply waiting for me. One of the collectors had emailed to say how pleased they were to have received the work and they would love to continue to collect them. This really boosted me in sending out emails to the other potential collectors. Of the 14 originally sent 12 want to continue collecting the work and 2 gave no reply.
I am currently working on a way to present the tracts as a set and also this will double as a gift to the collectors. Each will receive a book which their collected tracts can be mounted into. This book will also be available in a limited edition to buy. These will be made of tracts that remained from the limited edition sets and I plan to have 40 in all including those that will be sent to the collectors. These two images show the prototype for the book.
I am really enjoying the process of the project, addressing problems as they arise with creative solutions.