Charlie Todd has a kindred spirit on the opposite side of the globe. Australian artist Andrew Baines organizes and documents similar “missions” usually taking place on the various beaches of Australia. Baines has a lot to be happy about: after years of struggling with the idea of leaving his commercial art business to pursue his lifelong passion of fine art, Baines took the plunge, met with success, and never looked back. Plus, he spends much of his time on the beach — as he did growing up — but now in the name of art!
Baines’ most recent “guerrilla installation,” and part of his Surreal Human Sculptures series, took place last August when twelve suited volunteers carried their own toilets to the water’s edge and then dropped their pants and sat down to read the paper. The event titled Coalition of the Constipated was an effort to bring attention to the lack of toilets in the Henley Square Eatery district. In 2009, Baines gathered 50 participants on West Beach to be buried in sand up to their necks for his Up to Your Neck in It event, highlighting the way people are bogged down with pressures of everyday life when we should all stop and look around to realize things are not as bad as they seem. And a few years earlier Baines went from Melbourne beaches to ones in Sydney recruiting volunteers to dress in suits and bowler hats with umbrellas and briefcases in hand, and wade in the ocean by the early morning light creating some rather surreal-looking (specifically Magritte-like) images.
There are many other fun events on Andrew Baines’ website, so take a look.
Photos courtesy of the artist; Mark Brake for AdelaideNow; and Bram Booth.