Typical art travels inside, safely stowed in carefully-packed containers to prevent damage – these drawings do the opposite, playing up the folk-artsy practice of scribbling into built-up grime on vehicles.
“Using his finger to scribe into the layer of dirt built-up from exhaust emissions,” Ben Long “creates elaborate drawings on the rear shutters of white haulage trucks. In this on-going series, collectively entitled The Great Travelling Art Exhibition, he expands upon the daubing and crude slogans that commonly adorn commercial freight vehicles.”
Some of the pieces will be rapidly wiped away by rain or vandals, but others have survived for as long as six months and on long cross-country road-trips made by their drivers. Like street art, these reverse graffiti works are susceptible to the elements and necessarily temporary.
The artist’s motivations are various, but include a desire to make his work more accessible outside of traditional gallery spaces, reduce the costs of creative expression by using free materials and obviating the need for a studio space in which to create.
At the same time, there are a lot of artistic conventions still in play here – hallmarks of the ‘high art’ world, as it were. Long crafts these compositions within (and with reference to) a fixed frame, much like a canvass, and signs the pieces as well.