I went Mental and all I got was this Lousy Sign
I went Mental and all I got was this Lousy Sign - Drawn by Charlie Clark

“Dangerous” Metropolitan Police

“Disgusting” The Big Issue

“A pain in the ass” Nacht Kritik

“It’s not entertaining” The Scotsman.

the vacuum cleaner is the name of a UK based artist and activist who makes candid, provocative and playful work.

Drawing on his own experience of mental health disability, his work combines and draws inspiration from mad pride, grassroots organising, direct action, deep ecology and disability justice. Over the last 10 years he has focused on working with large groups including young people, health professionals and vulnerable adults to challenge and change how mental health is understood, treated and experienced.

With roots in activism and radical art, the vacuum cleaner has created one-man interventions and large-scale actions as well as performance, installation and film.  His work has been shown in galleries, theatres, hospitals and schools and has appeared on streets and in public spaces internationally.

Recent commissions include: Manchester International Festival in 2023, Chisenhale Gallery 2022 and Wellcome Collection 2021.

Selected performances, exhibtions and festivals include: Grand Rapids Art Museum (Michigan), Spielart Festival (Munich), Southbank Centre (London), Gessnerallee/Festspiele (Zurich) Steirischer Herbst (Graz) Politik im Freien Theater (Munich), National Gallery of Indonesia,  Museum für Gegenwartskunst (Zurich), Whitechapel Gallery (London).

the vacuum cleaner is James.  He works from his Margate studio with his dog, Doris.

He co-founded the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination 2004 – 09.

He received the Paul Hamlyn Breakthrough Fund 2018.

the vacuum cleaner is an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation 23-26

the vacuum cleaner has come second in ever art prize he has ever been nominated for.