The Strange Face Project @ Idea Generation

Nick Drake committed suicide in 1974 when he was just 26 years old and an almost unknown artist. Today, almost 40 years later, he is regarded as one of the most influential artists of the last century and has had an impact on a large percentage of modern recording artists and musicians.

The Strange Face Project by Michael Burdett documents the reactions of ordinary people from the ages of two to 96 to a lost Nick Drake recording. Burdett worked as a post boy at Island Records in the 1970s and when asked to throw some tapes away – he decided to keep one which had the words ‘with love’ on the box. It was a version of Cello Song by Nick Drake. 20 years later, Burdett played the tape for the first time and heard an unknown version of the song. Instead of posting it on the Internet or sending it to radio stations, he decided to share it with the world visually in a series of black and white photographs with the initial first thoughts from the listener along the bottom of the images.

Of the 200 people approached to take part in the project, 167 said yes, including famous faces such as Fearne Cotton and Noel Fielding. The photographic display shows the impact that Drake had, whilst also showing how an artist so highly admired is unknown to many today.

The Strange Face Project: Adventures with a Lost Nick Drake Recording is open until 12 February


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Lizzy Vartanian Collier is a London-based writer and curator. She runs the Gallery Girl blog and has written for After Nyne, Arteviste, Canvas Magazine, Harper's Bazaar Arabia, Ibraaz, Jdeed Magazine, ReOrient and Suitcase Magazine. Lizzy recently curated Perpetual Movement as part of Arab Women Artists Now (AWAN) Festival 2018 in London, which was featured in Vogue Arabia and The Art Newspaper.

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