untitled (portraits)

während der Performance / during performance (videostill) Jan Stradtmann
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London's Leicester Square is a venue for street artists, especially portrait artists, to make mediocre, cheaply-priced drawings. Their license, issued by the city council, costs GBP 30/day.The portrait artists have no fixed prices, nor do they have a price concensus among each other. I arranged my own artist's stand and got into some trouble with the other artists, who weren't very happy to face a new rival in their territory. Approaching the passers-by, I offered a portrait for a low price, giving them the option of selecting the paper size and type, and between pencil, carbon and ink. After they had made their choice, I passed the drawing board on to them and asked them to draw a portrait of me instead. If the portrait were fine, I offer them the appointed payment. However, if they preferred to keep their artwork, they would have to pay me. I had 18 “customers” and a yield of 9 sketches. Nobody wanted to keep their artwork, and almost no one had ever drawn a portrait before. Some flatly refused to accept payment for “such a poor work of art”. We had many interesting conversations on vision resulted from this activity.