On the first day of every month a White Rabbit sits on the river wall near Barnes Bridge. Who is White Rabbit?
‘I am at my spot near Barnes Bridge on the first day of the month between 7-8am. What started off as an experiment in live art performance has turned into an extraordinary experience.
‘At first, people in their cars or on buses were surprised to see me, but now they look out for me – they beep their horns, they look up from their phones and smile – I get a glimpse into their lives as they go to work and they get a glimpse into mine. Joggers stop to chat and get a selfie and even Zac Goldsmith came to have a photo while on the campaign trail. A woman once got out of her car to come and say hello in memory of her mother, who always used to say ‘Pinch, punch, first of the month…’
‘It’s a heart-warming experience – I see moments in the lives of the people living in the flats opposite.
‘I was only going to do it for 12 months, but people seem to appreciate it – it brightens their day. I have a Masters in performance and visual art and studied a BA in Fine Art at Kingston University. As a live art durational performance artist, everything I do is fluid – it doesn’t have a beginning or end. I just see where being White Rabbit takes me.
‘I work under my own name, Spike Mclarrity, and I have a studio in my garden in Barnes where I paint, carve and work on discarded MDF furniture templates made by local builders, turning them into beautiful objects which I pass on to those that need it, like local single mums.
‘I work with a foundation called Outside In Pathways, which helps adults with autism and special needs, which is how I earn money. The foundation is funded by the Arts Council and among the many things we do, the group has created operas – we even performed at Westminster Abbey last year.
‘Having spent 30 years working in social services, I love that I can now let out my creative side and as White Rabbit have travelled to Barcelona and Paris.
‘As an artist, the day doesn’t end. If I suddenly get an idea at 10pm, I can just go to my studio and work.
‘I don’t know what the future holds for White Rabbit, but for now I love that people can see me sitting on that wall and I have added something to their day.’
Look out for White Rabbit – or rather Spike! – during the arts Open Studios in June and July.