Over the 18th and 19th May, the Goods Shed in Stroud, Gloucestershire, will be transformed into Art Flea, a bizarre bazaar which draws together under one roof a dizzying collection of artistic enterprises and creative collaborations. Staged by Jo Fry and Julie Howe, Art Flea is part flea-market, part conceptual art experiment, and part car-boot sale, featuring a wide variety of artist-run stalls alongside live performance, film screenings and fabulous food.
This year’s inaugural event runs across an entire weekend. Saturday’s programme includes workshops with John Hegley, Andrew Bailey’s Architectural Hairdressing supported by the Monastry Of Sound, Mik Artistik telling tales of his adventures through the mediums of biro and paper bag, and, in association with Meantime Project-Space, the latest in a series of Maximalist projects by John Walter – a unique hybrid of painting, hospitality, performance and collaboration.
At the same time, pop-up exhibition spaces curated by Illustration Gallery, artist-run gallery INDEX and Bristol’s nomadic art gallery Antlers, will showcase editions, multiples and original art from their diverse stable of artists. The Bristol Art Library will be open for browsing, its collection of 170 artist books housed in a cabinet the size of a suitcase under the supervision of Head Librarian Annabel Other. Camper Obscura, meanwhile, turn an 80s VW camper van into a giant fully-functioning camera.
Curated environments include Pippa Tideman’s A Small Area Of Misguided Escapism, an indoor beach complete with buckets, spades and souvenirs, and Folk In A Box’s travelling one-on-one music venue which comes to Art Flea after appearances at Tate Britain and the South Bank. Secreted inside a vintage Sprite caravan, meanwhile, is Dr Penelope Counterpane, ready to give advice on matters of the heart – flirting tips, confidence building and a Quick-Fix Problem-Nix (one-minute wisdom for those in a hurry).
Refreshment will also be on hand throughout the event, including The Silver Rocketeer’s mobile Art Deco cocktail lounge; Mr Retrocool, a 60s ice cream van; and Delight Vintage, who can be found wheeling a tea-trolley of decadent delights.
The entertainment continues on Saturday evening with a special event hosted by the inimitable Johnny Quiz and his band The Men With One Name. (Warning: includes the now-legendary round Lap Dance Charades.) And on Sunday morning there’s an all-ages performance by musical maverick Kid Carpet, whose brand new touring show Kid Carpet & The Noisy Animals is a typically fantastical adventure following the fortunes of four animals on their journey to magical superstardom.
Theatrical, inspiring and decidedly different, Art Flea promises interactive fun for all the family, featuring Camper Obscura, Annabel Other, Negative Space, Alison Goldie, Mr Mead, Lady K Loves, Sam Marsh, Nothing But Navy, Polly Wales, Nick White, Stroud Brewery, Darius Akashic, Studio Legohead, Yasemin Wigglesworth and Kate Beer, Sarika Thakorial, Andy Fry, Rosie Coombes and many more…