Bryce Galloway’s Light Box Project

Bryce Galloway’s Light Box Project
Courtenay Place, 5th May – 15th August 2011

I approached this new installation with mixed emotions. It’s only the seventh exhibition to appear in Courtenay Place’s huge outdoor lightboxes, and the first to feature cartoons. It may also be the last for a while.

Galloway’s concept is straightforward and refreshingly unpretentious – he approached people on the street and asked them a few questions, including asking what they would put in the lightboxes, while sketching a quick caricature of them. Unfortunately this reliance on the input of others has resulted in a banal series of statements, displaying little of the wit which characterises his most famous work, the long-running zine Incredibly Hot Sex With Hideous People.

With printed cartoons, simplicity works to their advantage. This sometimes doesn’t hold when an image (which was probably about A4 sized originally) is blown up to 3 metres in height – let’s face it, that’s pretty bloody enormous. A low level of craft is magnified, and ends up looking perfunctory. To be brutally honest, this would’ve made a great 24 Hour Comic, with interviews conducted in the morning, a couple of hours spent drawing 16 caricatures, a file sent to the printers, and installation the next day.


9 Responses to “Bryce Galloway’s Light Box Project”

  1. mafalda Says:

    I think these new light boxes look very attractive at night, even from long distance, so I expect they are going to get more attention than the previous ones. That’s good.

    I didn’t like the drawings at all -my nephew can draw better- but I liked the text. Why? If those are the wittiest answers that ordinary Wellingtonians can come up with (assuming he chose the best ones) then the exhibition turns into a sociological exercise of some (limited) value to me.

    Overall, I’d rather ignore them, but I cannot disregard the fact there was a budget of $8500 for this and that makes me feel a bit ripped off.

  2. That’s the maximum budget, it includes the printing, installation and publicity.

  3. Bryce Galloway Says:

    Let me defend myself (well, hardly). Yes, i’m the artist responsible for the cartoons in the Courtenay Place Lightboxes. I’m glad you noticed, and that some of the comics fraternity have come to comment.

    Most of what you slate as criticisms are qualities I was after in the work: The banality of many answers initially annoyed me but I came to see them as part of the works anthropology; the simple drawings blown up to scale that exposes their naivety? yes please; that someone’s nephew can draw better than I can? Well, I don’t know how old your nephew is. I have a 25 year-old nephew who can draw very much better than I can, but considering my favourite artist/cartoonist is David Shrigley I’m not likely to take offense, even if your nephew is two. No, ESPECIALLY if your nephew is two. So, thanks for all the unintentional accolades you two. I can but concur that you didn’t like it. Oh well.

    Couldn’t have got it up in 24 hours as suggested. The printers and installers alone required one whole months grace!

    And on the $8500 the works might have cost? Make that $10000. I’m not sure if the opinion was aimed at it being a waste of rate payers money in general or that the artist might have received as much. In case it was the latter, rest easy that I came away with just over $300. S’later – Bryce.

  4. mafalda Says:

    Bryce, I truly appreciate you consider it was worth to ‘defend’ yourself. And I’m glad you chose to take the criticisms as ‘unintentional accolades’. I wish more people was able to show such level of emotional intelligence.

    I may be wrong, but I do not think that the blogger meant to say that the light boxes could have been done in 24hrs, but I suspect he referred to McCloud’s 24hr comic.

    Yes, my comment about the money spent in the light boxes was aimed at the questionable use (I wouldn’t say ‘waste’) of rate payers money. Whatever the artists receive is irrelevant to me.

    I understand you consider the blogger’s comment as he’s a cartoonist, but please do not take mine too seriously. I’m only an ordinary member of the public like any of those you interviewed. I’m not part of the ‘comics fraternity’ either; I’m only a comics reader.

  5. Bryce Galloway Says:

    Oh I take your comments just as seriously, don’t sell yourself short. Or maybe you were being sarcastic and it’s just the earnest black and grey of this layout undermining your tone.

  6. I’m glad this exhibition exists and I don’t consider it a waste of ratepayer money – I know how surprisingly expensive large-format printing can be.

    But I would’ve preferred to see 16 pages from Incredibly Hot Sex With Hideous People on display. I read #41 last night, and enjoyed it immensely.

    I can only conclude that you and your family are wittier than the average Courtenay Place pedestrian, which isn’t a bad thing.

    I also know that as intelligent and articulate people, you and Mafalda would get along swimmingly if you met.

  7. mafalda Says:

    You both take me too seriously. I will never be really sarcastic or intelligent or articulate in English. I barely exist.

  8. Never mind, I still like you.

  9. mafalda Says:


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