Art on two wheels

BEING hit over the head with a great idea is about to get more literal as art-crusaders pedal down the streets of Leeds thrusting bundles of creativity into unsuspecting hands.

Volunteer Papergirl, Laura Jordon, 25, talks to Low Culture about delivering art by bike, the upcoming exhibition and why it’s as much fun as it sounds…

LC: Tell us a little about Papergirl- what it is, where it’s come from and where it’s going.

LJ: Aisha Ronniger started the Papergirl project in Berlin in 2006 in response to changing laws regarding graffiti that classed wheat-pasted artwork in public space as the same illegal penalty as spray-painting.
Many artists in Berlin faced fines if they displayed their work, so Aisha began to conjure up ideas of how to get artists’ work ‘out there’.
Inspired by the idea of American papergirls and paperboys, she began the steps to start up a new project: the result being Papergirl.

LC: What’s your role as the Leeds ambassador for Papergirl?

LJ: After taking part in Papergirl Manchester last year and cycling around giving out bundles of art, I felt inspired. As a student and visual artist myself, I felt like I related to the project and I believed in the ethics: in a way it seemed like everything just clicked into place.
I felt like I would do it justice and I wanted a platform for this city to show everyone just what it can do.

LC: Why should we care about the project?

LJ: It’s a great opportunity to get your work seen – every submission is included in the exhibition. There’s no element of choosing work and there’s no element of choosing the recipient when we hand it out.
Being on a bicycle when distributing speeds up the process and there’s little time to select a person – it’s just being in the right place, at the right time.
I think that’s what is special about Papergirl.

LC: How can people submit work for the exhibition?

LJ: It’s for anyone that wants to get involved. Submitting your work into a project or a competition is quite a scary prospect in the beginning, so Papergirl makes sure that there’s no doubt that your work will be seen.

LC: What’s your favourite part of the project?

LJ: The idea of giving the art away seems to be something that has struck many people as something wonderful. The response to Papergirl Leeds has been astonishing.
There have been so many people, artists and organisations wanting to get involved.  I like the idea of “creating a creative community” and I think that with a project like Papergirl, we can do just that.

The Papergirl exhibition runs from April 8 to 17 at TestSpace, Melbourne Street, Leeds.

For more information, visit Papergirl Leeds

Words: Lauren Potts
(Original text at Low Culture)