Bill Drummond’s World City Tour

4th May 2014
Paul Bailey

Bill Drummond is an artist in the most social sense of the word. I visited his current 3 month residency in Birmingham and loved seeing what he was up to.

Bill Drummond is currently in residence in Birmingham, which is the first 3 month city residency on a world tour. The tour will visit twelve cities in twelve different countries around the world between 2014 and 2025. Birmingham will be followed by Berlin in 2015, Guangzhou in 2016, Memphis in 2017, and then a further eight cities in eight years.

I went to Birmingham and was lucky enough to actually meet Bill at his base of Eastside Projects. He explained how during the three months he will work in the city on various elements of his practise. On the day I visited he was in the process of both building a bed and knitting blankets. The people you can see in the photos are my family who really embraced the social aspect of Bill’s work and got down to some serious knitting, and in my mum’s case some woodworking for the bed too.

Other elements of his practise he may include during the 3 month residency include constructing cake circles, discovering dead oak rings, plying his trade as a shoeshine boy, building rafts, planting the seeds of myth, and growing old. The exhibition itself acts as a signpost and reflection on the work Drummond is doing throughout the city. The large typographic paintings are the markers or visual representations for work Bill Drummond is currently doing, and are called The 25 Paintings.

There are two things I love about Bill’s work. The first is the inclusivity and sociality of the work, his art is something which combines both experimentation and practicality. An artist who gets out into the city community and in doing so brings a certain life to that city during his time there. The second thing I love is the way Bill gives his work rules, and then uses these rules as another layer of his work. For example, his 25 Paintings have the following rules:

Bill Drummond began painting The 25 Paintings in 2001
They will not be complete until 2025
The 25 Paintings are all the same size measuring 1,910mm X 1,350mm
The paintings are all on canvas
The paint used is acrylic
The subject matter is text
The typeface is Trade Gothic Bold Condensed
The palette is black, white, red, blue and yellow
The colours are not mixed

If you’re in any of the cities Bill will be working in then I’d recommend finding out where he will be and going along. For more information on him and his World Tour check out his website

There are two things I love about Bill’s work. The first is the inclusivity and sociality of the work, his art is something which combines both experimentation and practicality.