As a graphic artist with a big imagination, it’s often hard to find a platform on which to display your latest creation whilst reaching the largest number possible.

The age of cartoons is dwindling and, if your interest lies elsewhere, a gallery is very difficult to find in an art scene crowded with photography exhibitions and retrospectives. Enter Richard Littler, whose latest creation is uniquely suited to the digital age and the recent vintage obsession.

Scarfolk is a town in North West England stuck in 1979 and the council has set up a blog to communicate ‘Memory & Function (& Memory)’ with the rest of us. Or so the story goes. On the council’s website, you’ll find tourism posters and other paraphernalia all imbued with a somewhat sarcastic tone – ‘for more information please re-read this poster.’ Comments on sex, electric water and mental institutes are just some of the items featured in the hugely readable and often humorous entries.

…an old-fashioned town using social media to bring themselves into the present day…

The blog is just the beginning; Scarfolk Council have their own Soundcloud and Littler uses his Twitter to promote the goings-on in the town. The blog is also littered with illustrations and images by Littler and scanned online. You’d be fooled for thinking upon first viewing, as I momentarily did, that this really was just an old-fashioned town using social media to bring themselves into the present day. Alas, the general tone of the website soon put that idea to rest.

The council’s Soundcloud entries are filed under ‘hauntology,’ which perfectly describes the atmospheric sound we’re party to with tracks named very literally – ‘Children of Scarfolk Primary School – In the Playground with the Music Room Window Open 13.05.1975’ is a prime example. I suggest listening to these tracks whilst flicking through the blog entries for a truly immersive experience. The only indication that you’re in the 21st century is the fact that you’re viewing it all through a computer.

…a project such as this is unique in its comprehensive coverage of social media…

The project has spread like wildfire via the usual social media channels, highlighting this new kind of art that engages with viewer from the convenience of their laptop in the comfort of their coffee shop or bedroom. The Internet had always made itself useful for disseminating information and ideas, but a project such as this is unique in its comprehensive coverage of social media and how easy it is to interact with the casual Internet user.

We’ve seen online art before, but I don’t think I’ve seen one that has spread so quickly and generated this much interest. Perhaps it’s the 70s feel, tapping into the heritage fad that doesn’t seem to be going away; perhaps it’s the employment of several Internet platforms to spread his work. Whatever it is, Littler seems to have come up with the ultimate way to use the Internet to the artists’ advantage. It’s a comprehensive concept that engages the reader on so many levels. Soon I expect to see ideas such as Scarfolk popping up all over the digital world, making the Internet the world’s cheapest and easiest art gallery.

About The Author

University of Warwick graduate, Magazine Journalism MA student at City University. Most likely to be found at a gig, at a restaurant table or reading on my commute.

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