In 2014 Lucy Sparrow’s famous month long installation, 'The Cornershop', brought the plight of the demise of the local cornershop to London. Restocking an abandoned cornershop with felt bean cans, ciggys, marmite and porn mags, each item meticulously hand sewn by the artist herself. It was an unprecedented success delighting the thousands of visitors and press alike.
As featured in The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/aug/01/lucy-sparrow-new-york-corner-store-felt-art
Two more shows followed covering more challenging subjects such as sex with her most recent show Madame Roxy’s Erotic Emporium where she challenged the UK sex laws which greatly affect women’s representation in the sex industry.
In Summer 2017 Sparrow embraces her biggest project to date The Convenience Store, opening in New York, a city where at the heart of every block the neon signs of the local convenience store are a beacon of hope to hungover everywhere. Where cures come in the form of a dubious pizza slice from the hot food counter or a New York icon, the hot dog from a hot dog stand, quick and cheap.
Fond memories of trying to buy your first six pack of beer and getting carded at the counter by the skeptical clerk, your fake ID just didn’t cut it. On the way out passing the moody teen settling for a Big Gulp and a hot preztel. Or popping in for a black coffee in a Yankees themed cup whilst drifting past the 99 cents bargain bin to pick up a ‘best’ of Kenny Rogers cd with some of the key hits missing.
The local convenience store is not just there for Twinkies and where would Chunk have bought his Baby Ruth bars? It is often the first taste of freedom teenagers get, being sent to fetch missing store cupboard items, and bumping into your friends staying out just a little longer than you’re meant to.
It’s hanging out with the alluring leather jacketed bad boy and when he mock proposes with a sugar ring donut whilst he punches the air as 'Don’t You Forget About Me' plays over the tinny shop speakers in the background.
Forget I’m not even 'sposed to be here, if you plan to shop lift, let us know.
What can people expect to see in the felt convenience store?
Come on down we got what you need. We’ve got felt fittings, freezers and fixtures. Take a felt basket, browse the aisles and select the fluffy goods to fill your cupboards with all the home comforts. Bring them to the counter for them to be gift wrapped and we’ll pack it in our very own branded brown paper bag.
How about a felt hot dog and help yourself to a squeeze of complimentary glitter glue mustard and ketchup from the dispensers?
The gritty kitsch of 70s New York, bright signs, the hanging meats of the deli counters which now looks a little tired but feels gloriously nostalgic. We will use one of these such shop fronts and fill it full of our colourful dungaree-clad employees who will constantly be buzzing around the store up and down step ladders to make sure that the shelves are well stocked. Our staff will bend over backwards to make sure you find everything you were looking for.
You’ll be able to take a gamble playing our felt lottery, maybe you will strike it lucky. Or fancy a quick bite to eat? At our deli counter you can create your own bespoke fabric sandwiches from pastrami or salt beef with pickles to good old PB & J to take home wrapped in brown paper bags.
All of the art will be instantly accessible, you can pop in for a few groceries pick them up off the shelves and take them home there and then. Original pieces of art at your local convenience store. For the serious art collector you can talk to our staff about purchasing curated cabinets full of your favourite convenience foods to hang in your home.
Firstly a huge thank you to everyone who pledged to The Cornershop in 2014 I could not have done it without you, however I need your help and enthusiasm to make this happen again.
To bring the Convenience Store to life I want your support. I need to raise half the funds for its production costs from Crowdfunding to prove to my Angel investors that this an exciting art installation that people want to see. I hope to raise £40,000 so I can ensure that this three week exhibition will deliver everything I want it to be.
It’ll be the Convenience Store of your dreams and it will be completely free to visit.
Risks and challenges
This is the biggest project I have ever undertaken, five times the size of The Cornershop. There are many more complications delivering this, particularly logistically as New York is just under 3500 miles from London. But that only makes it more delicious a challenge.
I have plenty of support in the UK and Stateside to help me bring this project to fruition for which I am extremely grateful.
New York is a new and bigger audience that requires more research particularly of unfamiliar products in order to give the store the ultimate feel of authenticity.
Because this installation is my most ambitious project to date and the location it requires a lot more funding than before, so if you loved The Cornershop, you ain’t seen nothing yet!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter