Setting up Bad Behaviour Open 2016

It doesn’t matter how well you prepare for anything, there’s always going to be nerves. Is anyone going to come? Will they like it? In many ways those nerves are what drive you to do something special, something extraordinary that makes an impact, inspiring people. Most specifically with Bad Behaviour there is the desire to turn people onto the arts, to connect artists with each other and people who love art for what it should be as well as reaching out to people who may not see themselves as the ‘type of people’ who would typically go to a gallery. But before all that we had to organise a show.

This year it seemed as though the nerves were more or less limited to the logistics and the set up. You never know what might happen with setting up but on the whole though there was a quiet confidence about the enterprise.

Everybody knew what they were doing and the standard of the works was high and wonderfully diverse. In addition the instal was at Brixton East, a venue curator Araba Ocran knows well. As a setting for an exhibition is both welcoming, beautiful and engaging for both the artists and the viewing public.

Much of this is the result of owner’s Andy Luckett’s personal and practical support for the local community as well as his welcoming attitude towards everyone.

As an observer I was impressed the quiet confidence of the crew whose strength and energy came from their experience of past exhibitions and the continuing strong support from Brixton’s grassroots community.

While there may have been a few niggles in the build up to the exhibition the process was on the whole pretty smooth. I was blown away by the amount the sheer amount of planning and work involved. From booking the venue, letting the artists know about the open call, finding the judges, promoting the event through social media and printing fliers, finding sponsorship, the day to day admin, sorting out the entertainment and of course the instal.

It’s kind of strange when the event is finally set up and looks so beautiful and it belies the sweat and grind that got it there. But that’s the way it should be. People should walk in and just see the artistry and the attention to detail. The exhibition is the swan above the water while the set up is what goes on under the waterline, with legs kicking not to elegantly to get to the other side.

As an observer I realised that certain things need to get done and they need to to get done in a certain way. So it’s about the nuts and bolts of the exhibition, putting them together in the right order to make something beautiful- the alchemy, the magic – the show.

And after months of planning, sweat and minimal tears there it was, the exhibition – and it looked stunning. If the exhibition downstairs was wondrous then upstairs it was just mind blowing. Now all they had to do was to wait for the audience.