That time I bumped into a rogue artist at Frieze

A few hours into my Frieze safari, earlier today, I was getting a tad tired, when suddenly something grabbed my attention. Right in front of me, there was a young gentleman, no older than in his very early twenties, dressed up like staff from Facilities. Neon-coloured hoodie with reflector bands on it. Baseball cap. He was attaching a piece of artwork to the wall, as well as a small caption. It read: “Oil Painting, Used fish and chip paper on wooden stretcher, Dion Kitson, signed on reverse, £26,000.

   

Perhaps a bit of a steep price for what it was? A Dion Kitson? Something else didn’t feel right. Why a solitary piece of art on this otherwise art-free, rather narrow corridor wall? Furthermore, the good man seemed apprehensive, was looking over his shoulder, avoided eye contact, and soon appeared to be on a pretend-phone call on his mobile.

 

Was this some Banksy-type vigilante artist attaching his own artwork to some random wall at the Frieze? You bet it was. How cool, I thought. I started taking pictures of the artist. After a short while, he walked over to me and introduced himself as Dion Kitson. I introduced myself and we exchanged links to our respective websites before taking a quick selfie.

Then I asked Dion, if he would mind me firing a few quick questions towards him and he said he wouldn’t. So I fired:

   

 

Q1: Dion Kitson, what made you come here today and attach your artwork to this wall?

Why wait any longer for the world to begin? You can have your cake and eat it too.

 

Q2: Have you done something like this before?

I’ve been known to, yes.

 

Q3: Have you been to Frieze before?

Yes, this is the first time I’ve not had any other commitments.

 

Q4: If so, was it as paying customer?

I managed to wangle some VIP tickets from a friend.

 

 

 

Q5: Dion Kitson, what are your thoughts about Frieze?

I’m not sure who it’s for, I’m not sure what it’s for, it looks like a well-funded out of control idea in a giant tent.

 

Q6: Can you give us a few highlights of your career as an artist so far, how did those milestones like awards, exhibitions, articles, etc., push your career forward, perhaps made further projects easier to do and commissions easier to come by?

 

I try to not dwell on stuff like that, I’m in a constant state of pushing myself, I’m never satisfied, I just want to evolve my practice and make great art, that’s all I care about.

Its immeasurable, the art world treats artists like footballers: stats, goals, injuries, transfers, markets, pundits, hairstyles. Some people believe art is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.

 

I thanked Dion and we were both on our respective merry ways. Me, getting myself a coffee. Dion, leaving the scene of his commendable, masterful mischief.

Check out his webpage, to learn more about his entertaining and thoughtful art. This dude doesn’t just have a big smile. He’s got a brilliant future ahead of him, no doubt.

 

UPDATE (19 October 2022) – I just received a text message from Dion Kitson, telling me that his artwork has gone missing. (I had noticed on my visit the following day that it was no longer there.) I hope it will be returned to him. Should you have any information relating to this matter, then please leave a comment and I’ll pass on the message.

 

Looking for fun things to do in and around London? Feel welcome to check out my posts about Frameless, the immersive experience, Sculpture In The City 2022, The London Helicopter, North London Skydiving, and an ocean rowing taster course in Essex.

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2 Comments

  1. This is such a cool experience and so fun that you got to chat with him. Do you think his artwork will be returned to him? How do organizers generally treat rogue artists inserting their works into a gallery?

    1. Yeah.. I know.. there is a risk perhaps that the organisers of art fairs generally do not feel a lot of love for artists who hang their own artwork, hard to tell. I do very much hope he’ll get his work back. It is of course entirely possible that someone else saw him attach his work to the wall and thought, awesome, free art, I’ll put that one in my bag and take it home. 🙂

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