Artist Darren Cullen has opened the new Atom gallery in Stroud Green with a controversial work entitled ‘Pocket Money Loans’.
He’s been receiving support and interest from some passers-by and media, but also a fair share of abusive emails from people who believed the art to be real. Social media has been similarly confused, and his fake website, pocketmoneyloans.com has had around 50,000 hits so far.
The gallery opened last week, looking much like a high street payday loan shop, but clearly targeted at kids.
Darren sits behind the cash counter each day, with a strategically placed trampoline made available so that smaller children can bounce high enough to read the fine print.
Various posters advertise a range of services, including bouncy castle mortgages, up to £100 for your toy car, and special offers from the tooth fairy.
The gallery is decorated with balloons and also features a handy abacus for totting up interest, and a little table and chairs for signing agreements.
Among the responses Darren has had, was a trademark infringement warning from US payday loans company, Speedy Cash. They were apparently upset by the use of a photo from their own website, which Darren reproduced by way of comment on the blog page of his site.
The offending image is reproduced here (under fair usage, news and comment). Although obviously loans are only available to adults, Speedy Cash is not alone among companies that seem to sanitise their murky industry by using family-friendly and particularly child-focussed images.
It’s in the context of this sort of advertising and promotion, that Darren decided to create his art installation, and he gives many similar examples on his blog, adding up to a compelling case for regulation and restriction.
The Stroud Green store is open Monday to Saturday 10-6 until next Friday 7th November. Darren’s past work can be seen at his main website.