SOCKSHOP imitates art: Part 2

Posted by Katrina


A few weeks ago we featured a blog post documenting our homage to Sheffield artist John Dowswell and his Project Odd pieces.

Since then John has been in touch, and has very kindly given permission to showcase some images from his collection – to show you, and us, how it’s meant to be done!

Of course I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ask John a few questions, and find out why he’s just as mad about socks as we are!


Why did you decide to make and feature socks in Project Odd?

The crux is I just liked the idea of all the odd socks in the world turning up somewhere, unexpected. I wanted to create a series based on a recognisable and iconic image to help people identify pieces as they get progressively more abstract.

Which sock piece is your favourite and why?

I think my favourite was the Christmas tree sock I made, complete with fairy lights. A big part of the project is that the audience is at liberty to move or remove editions. I was really happy to see this one get moved twice from its original and subsequent placement before getting lost again.

How long did it take for you to place the socks around Sheffield?

I've been running the project since November and I tend to make a batch of say five and then distribute them. I'd guess so far I’ve probably spent about two weeks scoping spots and putting them out.

How did you decide where to place the socks?

Sometimes the sock picks the location and vice versa, Brodd (bread sock) for example was driven by location. I saw the bread crates in the phone box and wanted to use that. Fishnet though was premeditated for that or another reed bed.

How much longer will Project Odd last?

It will run until I finish. I had an idea that I would do it for six months but I've been busy painting walls so it’s running a bit longer. I'm keen to run it to 100 individual socks at least.

What do you want to achieve with the project? How do you want people to interpret your work?

As with all of my work I just want to provide free public art in places where you don’t have to have gone out of your way to find it. People might be walking to work or taking their kids to the park and see one. I wanted to use/take the limitless gallery space all around Sheffield and wider.

Most of all I wanted to put a little smile on people’s faces. It’s not about deep thinking necessarily, people can read as much into it as they want though. I'm just putting something out there; interpretation is everyone else’s job. Most people think it’s a bit crazy/stupid/pointless but I decided a while ago to do things that please me and if anyone else likes it, great. 

Images from Project Odd:












More images from Project Odd can be found on John's flickr page. 


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