Ten artists, ten days

Alan Silvester – aka Dirtyface (dirtyface.co.uk) – brought together ten of his favourite artists and illustrators for his first live art event, TEN/TEN, in Sheffield in August. We caught up with him to reflect on the event, which aimed to highlight the short lifespan of graffiti and street art.

DA: What’s the best thing about organising such an art event?
AS: “Hosting a live art show with internationally renowned artists gave a great insight into they way they work. The performance aspect, combined with
that insight, made the process inspiring to see.”

DA: And the worst thing?
AS: “Very little sleep! Our event ran for two weeks and was pretty much open every day. We hadn’t anticipated the amount of time it would take to prep the wall daily, which often resulted in having to work through the night.”

DA: How did you select the artists?
AS: “We aspired to include a range of styles, selecting artists from the UK and abroad such as Kid Acne, Low Bros, DXTR and Ema. The event gave the artists free reign and showcased a range of techniques.”

DA: Any tips for anyone organising their own event?
AS: “Get the concept right first. A strong focus for your event will inspire artists to get involved. [The fact that we] essentially destroyed the artists’ work as soon as it had been finished offered a unique angle for the artists and audience.

“Budget for contingencies because things go wrong, so you’ll always end up spending more than you’d planned. You have to be ready to cover any unexpected expenses. If you don’t then the project will come to a halt.”

DA: Did anything not go quite right?
AS: “Going on BBC radio to promote the event was a bit of a disaster. The gallery owner and myself went on the week before the event to spread the word, but I’m not sure the message got across to the right audience.”

DA: Any tips for sourcing sponsorship?
AS: “Be persistent. Meeting face to face is always better if possible. If you believe in your vision for the show then that will show through in your pitch to the sponsor. Eventually everything will fall into place.”

Artwork above Mr Gauky, Low Bros, DXTR, Tom J Newell and Kid Acne at work during TEN/TEN