Just recently I found a competition in Art Calendar, which is a monthly publication that offers business advice and listings of art exhibits and opportunities. The competition was at the Brevard Museum of Art in Melbourne, Florida and had an interesting catch to it. The art submissions had to include a Chinese take out container of a specific size that they provided the artists.
You may remember Cass Scopino, the pine needle basket maker I wrote about in an earlier article. She lives in Melbourne, so I called her to let her know about the exhibit. Of course, it was less than two weeks before the deadline, but what the heck. Cass has made some fascinating baskets, but this was a real stretch. How could she integrate a cardboard Chinese food container into a pine needle basket? To be honest, I knew what I would have made, I had no idea how she would approach it. I also wasn’t sure she’d take the challenge on with such short notice and the stakes of having to go through a jury process. But she jumped on it despite the risk of rejection or more realistically – not being selected.
I’d love to go on about risks and fears to submitting work to juried shows, but I realize that I should save that for another day. This type of ‘Call’ from a gallery or museum is an opportunity for a real creative challenge and should be celebrated.
We have a great educational museum near us, The Eli Whitney Museum, which puts out a call to artists each year, in the name of Leonardo Da Vinci. The requirement is to create art with a specific object determined by the curators. It is about art and invention. One year it was the paper clip, each year it is different.
Requiring one element be consistent in each artist’s entry by no means causes them to appear in the least bit similar. These are great creative challenges to participate in. Sometimes not having a restriction is more inhibiting or overwhelming than having one.
Cass worked like a woman possessed to finish her piece and meet deadline for the Brevard Art Museum. She gathered a cheering section of friends and family and I believe went without sleep to finish it. It was a personal mission just to submit the piece. She also decided to have fun with. Her aptly named “Chinese Fire Drill” was accepted into her first ever Museum exhibit. Her descriptions of what other artists made proved how differently brilliant our brains are in solving creative problems. The help of a third party imposing an object provides a different kind of challenge.
So now it’s your turn. I am challenging my tribe to make a creative statement. You may chose any media (2D or 3D which can accommodate poetry or text as well), but you must interject a clothes pin(s) somehow into your design or structure. Everyone has access to and can be inspired by this simple functional tool. By the way, spring action or straight, it doesn’t matter. Cass did her food container challenge in a week, but I want you all to get enough sleep. Photograph or scan your finished art and send an image to me by June 15th at firstname.lastname@example.org. This challenge is for sharing brilliant ideas and is not being judged. The incentive is to have fun and to share with other creative folks. It also gives you another piece of work for your own portfolio. I will post your work in July to share with the tribe. Now let’s have some fun.