strange ways collective
The Strange Ways Collective was a project that sprang up after a group of artists met on the After Hours Mentoring Scheme in 2006. The collective was comprised of three artists, Elena Cassidy-Smith, Harmeet Chagger-Khan and Helen Grundy. The initial reason for starting the collective was to take risks with our practices, show work in unusual, non gallery spaces and to explore new ways of making art.
crash test dummies
In 2014 Strange Ways were offered a 3 month residency at New Art Gallery Walsall. Continuing with ongoing themes of finding ways to get audiences to engage with artists and pushing our practices in new and risky ways. During the residency we developed an ambitious studio artwork, The Intermittent Side Board and a live event called 'Playback' where we invited a small audience to solve a murder whodunnit, riddled with red herrings. The murder happened at the gallery and the victim was our curator, Sonya Russell-Saunders. Here is the link to the event https://thenewartgallerywalsall.org.uk/event/artists-studio-event-strange-ways-crash-test-dummies-1/
adopt an artist
Adopt An Artist was a project of small interventions with the artist Emily Warner. We took Emily to an art gallery where we played games, the central library where we asked her to make art with plasticine and then place it around the building and then to at talk at Eastside Projects where we encouraged her to ask Bill Drummond a question. All the interventions were playful ways of pastiching information artists are given on arts development courses.
manifesto - The wig versus strange ways
This was a live art, combat between Strange Ways and the studio holders at the art space, The Wig. It was part exhibition and part live art event where both sides had to compete with a performance. The studio space was marked out like an arena and Strange Ways created a fake history for the collective with fake posters for shows that never existed, all presented with a bizarre power point presentation, complete with very bad German accents. The show was curated by Sonya Russell-Saunders.
Live Art Intervention for an event in Birmingham organised by Waifs and Strays in December. We made some hand made crackers filled with depressing quotes, bits of rubbish like half eaten chocolates and prange peel and offensive paper hats. We also handed out unpleasant Christmas cards.
ready, steady, make!
This project was a two week residency at The Wig where Strange Ways took the format of the TV programme, Ready, Steady, Cook! and applied it to the production of contemporary art. We had a stash of basic, low cost materials and invited the audience to pick a handful of them and then we had to make a piece of art in a set amount of time. The residency culminated in an exhibition and a discussion about the methodology and outcomes of the residency.
FEAST, was a live art perfomance at Wolverhampton Art Gallery. We created an edible human skeleton and organs carried out an autopsy and then invited the audience to feast on the body. The body belonged to a failed artist who had been unsuccessful and not been become famous with his artwork. We created a back story, of how the artist tried and failed, his increasing anger and then depression and possible suicide, or did he die of a broken heart from being rejected by curators and galleries?
open for business
In 2011 Strange Ways were awarded Arts Council funding for a residency in a disused shop in Handsworth. The residency was site specific and the outcomes were inspired by the conversations we had with the local people. When the show ended there was an exhibition in an empty retail space in The Pavillions shopping centre in Birmingham city centre.
Cheapside Show was an Arts Council funded project and was a site specific multi disciplinary exhibition, at The Edge, Cheapside, Birmingham. I collaborated with Angel Stripe and together we made video pieces that reflected the animal/insect life that existed alongside the humans in that part of Birmingham. We created an intimate cinema that looked like a rat trap, baited with sugar mice. Inside we showed a reel of films titled, Pitter Patter. For my films I did a pastiche of Tom and Jerry, making a tiny mouse home, complete with a dead mouse. The broom is made of a stick bound with cat whiskers that I had been collecting from my pet cats. I also created a film showing bush crickets, that look like cockroaches spilling through plug sockets and feasting on what looks like a party buffet for children.
The 'Tearaways' exhibition at The Custard Factory was the clumination of the artists mentoring programme, After Hours. This training and development was delivered by Friction Arts and Creative Alliance. This is where the artists who later became Strange Ways met and decided to form a collective,