The anonymous gift-givers, that is, Natasha Cutts and her merry band of kind-hearted creatives, came together in Shoreditch’s Strongroom Bar, to present This Must Be For You: The Altruistic Art Show. A free event with a fantastic vibe, the evening proffered an out-of-the-ordinary itinerary, comprised of browsing a diverse selection of artworks, bands playing 90’s covers, drinks, stickers, tiny glass jars, plenty of photo-opportunites and a whole lot of laughs.
Artworks by Monika lek, Kim Noce, Ben Challen, Ella Foote, Joey Fourr, Tom Hill, and Francois Got Buffed, to name a few, lined the walls and hung from the ceiling of the venue’s basement bar. This was no run-of-the mill art show, though. Upon entering, visitors were invited to check out the work on display, pick a few favourite pieces and take part in a raffle. Penning the number beside their favourite item on a ticket and popping it into a little jar, attendees seemed to grow increasingly excited about the prospect of copping some free art as the night went on; though the hot mulled cider could easily have had something to do with that. TMBFY is a not for profit project that employs the lovely slogan, “anonymous gift giving to brighten up your day.” Although we arrived for the last few hours of the show, happy faces suggested the day had been pretty bright. With artist submissions and entry to the event free and open to everyone, the bar was bursting with illustration, photography, painted leaves, prints, t-shirt design and a shedload of guests to boot.
Natasha Cutts and Charles Clark started TMBFY at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2012, in order to up the cheer-factor by leaving out anonymous presents. They found the response to the concept so positive that upon moving to London, they continued with the project. The motivation for the altruistic art service springs from a desire to promote creativity in what they describe as ‘a new and tangible way’. Natasha and Charles have distributed seeds, tea boxes, artwork, poetry, music and plastic animals to total strangers and have more recently handed out 50 art packs in central London. There are two great messages communicated by these acts, the first is the importance of human kindness, the second is the significance of sustainability. Those who receive gifts from the project are encourages to re-use the gift boxes in their own way, reinventing the concept from their own point of view in their own area.
This show certainly succeeded in spreading the love and was a testament to the overwhelming positive impact of doing a little social good. By showcasing and promoting work by a collective of artists and inviting one and all to attend and take part in the raffle, the organisers established a fantastic sense of inclusivity and provided all guests with the ability to have a few drinks and appreciate a huge, stand-out portfolio in a chilled out and creative atmosphere. YOUNG GOLD TEETH looks forward to seeing what else TMBFY had lined up for 2014 and participating in the joy of giving.
“Art brings the happiness, gifting brings the kindness.”
Words: Emily Beeson | @younggoldteeth