Adrian Wilson is an award winning photographer who has spent the last ten years giving away his art for free. In issue 7: Come*(Eat) Dekit Magazine had the incredible opportunity to interview him about his store The Inutilious Retailer that gives artwork away to anyone willing to leave a piece they’ve created behind in exchange.
In our interview, Wilson goes into depth about how the idea started years ago on a Sunday afternoon and what it took for him to bring it to fruition. To read this magnificent story download Issue 7 here and get 30 percent off with PROMO code: eat7.
Here Adrian Wilson will give you a sneak peek of what his store is about and the road that brought him to creating a store that does not sell anything. His store forces you to think about consumerism, others around you, and the impact one person can have to another.
“For the 35th anniversary of Earth, Wind, and Fire they asked me to do 35 pieces of clothing to celebrate that. So I did that. All for free. Then I would go into Old Navy and buy a hundred dollars worth of clothing in the sale bin, take it home, leave all the tags on, do art on it, and then put it back in the stores. So people just got free pieces of art. I did the same in Miami.”
Wilson has been giving art away for free for years. Before launching the store he already had the medium in which to create art on clothing. “I managed to save these old printing blocks that were used by textile merchants in Manchester in the 1800s. I was in the old warehouses in Manchester and they were throwing these things out. I actually saved a couple of thousand of them.”
“It’s the most stupidest idea to open a store that doesn’t sell anything. I’m never going to be the first to go to Mars, or climb Everest. But I’ll be the freaking first person to do that, right? To remind people that actually the best things aren’t things. It’s the experience. Just dare yourself to do it. I had this idea that I’d be an old person getting spoon fed rice pudding in some nursing home, I’d wake up, and this 19-year old would be feeding me, and I’d tell her, “Oh yeah once I opened a store in New York that didn’t sell anything.” And she’d be like, “Of course you did, Mr. Wilson,” and pat me on the back and give me some medication to go to sleep. But then she’d be like, “I’m gonna Google it,” and she’d be like, “Fuck. He did!”
“The store is very purposefully divided into thirds. There’s the store in the front, there’s the unknown lounge bit, and then there’s the workshop in the back. Really, that’s kind of how your day should be.
People have left here inspired and go, “Wow. You did this. You have a dream, an idea, and you did it. You made it real.”
There’s references, like, instead of ‘everything must go’ it’s, ‘must everything go’. There’s these subtle references to retail, but they’ve got a surreal twist. People will read, “must everything go” and they will read it as “everything must go.” People don’t notice the barcode. It couldn’t be more obvious. It just shows you how much we’re programmed.”
By taking the leap and creating something that brings people together and causes them to think, Adrian Wilson now needs help. The store is in danger of closing! He has set up a Kickstarter to raise funds to keep the store alive. He has gone to create lengths to keep this store open by himself. He has asked his landlord to help him with his rent, used the money from his photography career to pay for the store’s bills, and now he needs us to help! Donate to his free store at his Kickstarter page and keep the shop alive! There are so many unique, personal pledges that are available you would be crazy to miss out on them!
To learn more about the store, see it’s impact, and the award it won follow it on Instagram: