Andy Uprock is an artist from Sydney, responsible for inventing the word “cuprocking”, which means filling the diamond-sized fence holes with cups that you can paint afterwards. Unfortunately he’s not the first one to do that as most people think. It’s possible to come up with the same idea from another side of the planet and that’s what happened.
But Andy made cuprocking popular, he’s been opening people’s eyes by doing exhibitions worldwide. Also he’s been pointing out an important side of his works – that they can be read by the blind. He did an exhibition in Braille called “Sign Language” in 2008. Quite mind blowing that people with sight see these dots as randomly situated cups, but actually they carry a deep message in Braille and are meant for the blind.
Since Andy is a busy boy, the interview with him is still in delivery. Watch this space.
In the meanwhile, visit his website:
As it seems to me the purpose of cuprocking in the beginning wasn’t the need to decorate the fence with colourful patterns but to advertise or say something about the place. For example “White & Lloyd” or “John Doe Taylor” as you can see from the pictures. With the development of devices, the usage changed in time- it became more decorative. Meanwhile there were many difficult systems invented utilising clips and sticks etc, but when Andy Uprock made cuprocking so popular using cups, it seems to me, we went back to the roots. I know that using regular cups is the most common and the simplest way to express yourself, but I should point out and pay respect to those who tried to make the technique more convenient and high quality.
People have been trying to fill fences every since the chain link fence was invented. Surprisingly, the year is 1893 when the whole idea was patented, but nobody gave a name to it. It represents the same techique that Andy Uprock is using right now. But after some time in 1910 W.J. Bayley patented the idea where you had for example wooden cut-out letters that you fix with clips. Three years later in June, W. Ellison fixed letters by a stick which hung across the fence and at the same time held the letter safely. M. L. Cornell’s idea is the most different, because he didn’t expect that a fence would have diamond-sized holes, his fence actually reminds me of a prison cell window. Metal plates that shin down the tube and constitute the figure you need. In 1994 was the first time when a man invented a device that put into the fence looked good from a front perspective. In 2003 modulatable fence decorations came out. They are with a different size and shape.
Randall Hunt advanced the whole idea filling fences with cups and invented diamond-sized polypropylene plastic material that is sturdy yet pliable.
He said: “I got the idea in the 1990′s, schools around here in Texas have been using Styrofoam or plastic cups in a fence for spirit signs for a long time. It was after 9/11 when they started to spray paint the cups and I decided it was time to move forward on my idea…”
After a year of designing and installing over a hundred thousand cups, Randall Hunt is very pleased with the product he has invented. Colorful glowing cups are made in Texas and hurricane tested in Florida, sun tested in Arizona, and freeze tested in Maine. Seems to be very high-quality. The main problem with help us out. Also P.I.C’s are a lot more environmentally friendly then spray painting foam cups.
He’s shipping the cups all over the US, Canada and starting to in Mexico. Some of the furthest locations recently are the UK, Italy, Switzerland. He actually offered to donate some to Andy but never heard from him…
Randall sent me all these interesting pictures about inventions, thanks a lot!
Me and my friend, Ips made a symbolic piece, a very explicit and simple idea. We started with great enthusiasm, finding the perfect spot, but we realized that actually the spot ain’t that important, it’s the fence which made our life difficult. The holes have to be big enough and it had to be high and wide. After a couple of hours wandering around the hood in the cold, we found a perfect fence and started counting the holes.
It’s fun to watch how the picture is evolving.
Unfortunately I had bought only one spray can so we had to paint the inside not the whole thing from outside too (that’s why it looks sloppy in daytime). We also fucked up a little bit with the black, but I guess it’s minor.
When the job was done we both felt something inspirational, like wanting to do more, but regrettably we haven’t done anything, just waiting for the wind to push us into another project.
Marika has studied semiotics and history of art in Tartu University and Technische Universität Berlin and wants to specialise in art history. In past few years she's got involved with street art - particularly in cuprocking. At the moment admires sixties' garage rock and prepares an exhibition in Tartu that involves Estonian street artists.
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Okeiko’s art! Cuprock 2010, Tallinn, EKKM fence
Some great stuff in Tallinn Oct 21st from Okeiko, Jack and Bianca!
What is art?
Well, do you remember Philips’s advertisement that said “Art is everywhere”? Art is representation in a frame, in delimited space and time treated with information and feeling. It is interaction between the artist and he’s message, the message and the viewer and in the end the artist and the viewer. You can find art everywhere.
I remember I once saw a video where some artists wrapped little islands into plastic. Seemed like this plastic was all produced for this particular work of art.
Or for another example PMS Army crew from Stockholm (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hd7rEfKnSHw&feature=related) who used about 150 cans for this piece and the station had to be closed because of the chrome in the air.
The techniques for some particular works doesn’t consider the pollution, the message is more important.
Great point Kaltsupille if the cups are just bought to make the art, but recycling them and using some paints which are earth friendly methinks there is some value?
“Art: this word has no definition” Source – Ambrose Bierce’s ‘The Devil’s Dictionary’.
Since art per se is undefinable it makes it an easy target for high-brow criticism.
The point about recycling the plastic afterwards is a good one though and maybe the artist can be persuaded to look at the more eco-friendly options.
That said, the cuprocking idea is an inspirational one – especially in an urban, concrete jungle – maybe just one cuprock will encourage just one disenfranchised youth to take up art as a hobby or career, instead of something far less favourable or socially positive. Is that not a good thing?
So Kaltsupille – if the artform was made more environmentally-friendly, would it still be damn [sic] irresponsible to popularise an artform that could inspire and motivate people who might otherwise be uninspired and demotivated?
Fences are unnatural barriers – there’s mileage in opening the barriers up by using them to inspire.
That has to be far more world-worthy than just being critical and judgemental on a website and offering no constructive opninion for improvement….
I imagine this kind of “art” is alluring for a few simple reasons.It gives the “artist” a feeling of importance,their 15 minutes of fame (fame is damn hard currency..).It’s also ridiculously easy and cheap(spray paint ain’t That cheap,I know).
This goddamn plastic – even if it was recyclable before I doubt it will be after you spray paint all over it.
This is art for little children or just little people who don’t stop to think of the consequences.To popularise this sh*t is just damn irresponsible.
This type of art is merely masturbation – stroking your ego.How low can we go?