Originally founded by Mustafa Hulusi in 1999, the billboard at 2 Hoxton Street has now passed into the curatorial hands of Oli Epp. For over 20 years the advertising space in Shoreditch has exhibited works from emerging artists, replacing commercial imagery with art.
The project has had an online boost since Epp created the @i.m.a.g.e_d.u.m.p account which is dedicated to the billboard (which had previously only really been visible on Hulusi’s own Instagram). Before @i.m.a.g.e_d.u.m.p appeared on my feed I wasn’t aware of the project, even though it isn’t only close-by, but also right up my metaphorical street.
Public art? Supporting emerging artists? Accessible art for free? Triple tick.
Now knowing that the project isn’t just another baby of Covid-19 lockdown, I’m reminded that art in public isn’t only necessary at times when access to art inside galleries is off the cards. The less we need galleries to see art, the better.
Since moving to London pre-pandemic, I have been pleasantly surprised to see how much public space has been bagsied for art. Ryle Lane in Peckham is plastered with posters, and not every image is an advertisement for clothes or a new single: many posters serve no other purpose than to bring visually exciting content to the public. Other paste-ups are handmade by students advertising their art school shows. The graffiti here is poetic and full of symbols and bright colours. Art is everywhere when we look for it.
However, public art is also at risk. A Banksy being removed from a wall in Nottingham caused uproar in February, but it wasn’t the first time this sort of thing had happened. At a time when so much is online we must make sure we protect and celebrate the things in the physical realm. Public spaces belong to and must serve the communities who live in them, but with arts funding at a new low, public access to art might fall of the council agenda.
Artists can submit their work to be included in Image Dump’s line-up by adding the hashtag #imagedumplondon to an Instagram post showing the piece. The submissions process is refreshingly relaxed in comparison to the multiple hoops of lengthy written applications artists normally have to jump through to get gallery representation. Image Dump have democratised the applications process as well as the final viewing experience.
I interviewed Oli to hear about the future of Image Dump, as well as his other projects.
My names Oli Epp. I’m a London based artist that makes Post Digital Pop paintings. I also run a residency programme called PLOP, which offers a free one month residency programme to international and UK based artists in London.
What is Image Dump?
Image Dump is a billboard at 2 Hoxton Street, Shoreditch, East London, which I have taken over to exhibit images of artworks by emerging artists/recent graduates. Instead of advertisements, Image Dump showcases art.
How did you get the billboard?
I took over the billboard from artist Mustafa Hulusi, who has been presenting artists’ work in the format of the outdoor poster intermittently at 2 Hoxton Street, London since 1999. This year he is passing the baton to me.
How do artists apply to Image Dump?
Any UK based artist can apply to Image Dump simply by posting an image of their work to Instagram with the hashtag #imagedumplondon or simply add this hashtag to an image already posted on their feed.
Why is it called Image Dump?
The name is a double entendre. Image Dump refers to the act of dragging and dumping multiple files on a computer and it also literally means an image above a dump. The billboard sits proudly above recycling bins just off of the trendy Hoxton Square and I wanted to play on its location in its name.
What’s something interesting about the project worth mentioning?
Image Dump creates a feedback loop between the digital and analogue world. Physical artworks get transformed into digital images, which get uploaded to Instagram. We then select certain digital images, print them and exhibit them in a physical space to be seen, photographed and re- uploaded to the feed. It’s an analogue to digital to analogue to digital feedback loop that disseminates art to the world.
What does Image Dump have in common with PLOP Residency, your other project?
They are separate projects but both aim to provide free opportunities for emerging artists/recent graduates in London. They both aim to create new, interesting conversations with the wider London art scene and community. I’m excited to announce that I’ll be relaunching PLOP Residency this summer, so stay tuned for more info on that!
What does Image Dump offer for emerging artists?
London needs more public art. Image Dump offers UK based artists the opportunity to exhibit their work in a publicly accessible space. In a time where we are unable to go to galleries to see art and opportunities for emerging artists and recent graduates have diminished due to the pandemic, community art projects like Image Dump offer a chance for emerging artists to exhibit their work in an open space, which the public can engage with 24/7.
What issues within the art world (or society at large) is Image Dump trying to address?
My main aspirations for this project is for Image Dump to be a beacon of light for artists and the public and for it to create a new, cross generational dialogue between artists, makers and thinkers and the people.
What’s the potential for this project – what could be next?
I’ll be rolling the project out for one year. Depending on how things go, an idea for next year would be to take over a number of billboards across different parts of the UK.
Where should we look to stay updated about the project?
Follow Image Dump on Instagram @i.m.a.g.e_d.u.m.p to stay up to date with the project.