PBR Art Contest
from a guy who doesnt drink beer... Why not?
Jen stumbled upon an ad several weeks ago announcing a call for portland artists to submit work for a PBR art contest. The winner, apparently would get blown up to billboard size and presented over portland for a few months. I went back and forth for a while because we have so many other projects on the plate but finally sent an email in asking for details.
The back story here is that i have long had a habit of getting excited about opportunities like this: art shows, photo contests, whatever happens along. I do a good deal of work planning, designing an entry or touching up old photos- only to back out before the deadline. Im not sure why exactly, but the excuse usually consisted of work, travel, too many things on the plate. Those old standbys seem tough to use at this point...even if we are more busy than i could have imagined as two people without jobs.
As far as the PBR show goes, my initial email was 2 days late for submission and i wasnt allowed to enter- probably for the better given our planned trip to vancouver and the teardrop project. We put the show out of mind and moved on but a day before leaving for vancouver, I got an email from the event director letting me know that they wanted me to participate. Problem being- the deadline was now in 7 days.
Most of my paintings take at least that long to create even if i have a final idea/design already. Literally hundreds of hours of cutting stencils before painting even begins. I didn't say no initially and decided that if i could come up with a design we could use the laser cutter at ADX to save the time usually spent on cutting. We phoned up a few friends that night and decided to go watch football, drink some beers and brainstorm ideas that were fitting to exude PBR in Portland. Didn't seem too difficult since PBR might actually be the token drink of our hipster-centric city...
We started at our favorite dive bar, then another and the thinking and drinking seemed to go hand in hand...all for the sake of art of course. Ideas ranged from hipster traps and sasquatches to bbqs fueled by beer-butt-chicken and beyond. We ended the evening far too late, having had far too much fun and with a page of bar-lit scribbles that we could barely recognize in the morning.
I worked to turn the ideas into detailed photoshop mockups during our drive to vancouver and then again on the way home, and stayed up all night the day we arrived prepping digital art for the laser cutter. We had decided on the last image below- with the sasquatch/hipster trap.
Sadly, things went wrong in the morning and i lost about 14hours of work. I finally had things ready again late morning and we ran a test cut on the laser cutter (which was amazing to see...kind of like watching the pieces for the teardop being cut out on the CNC). Unfortunately, it turned out that the laser was going to take too long/cost too much money, and in my exhausted state i decided to opt out of the show. Bummer.
Problem is, i felt miserable about the decision. The old habit seemed to have returned. Finding an opportunity to create art and put it in front of others, then coming up with some excuse to not send in the work. In reality i think the underlying issue in past circumstances was fear. In this case i was trying everything to turn something in and kept hitting walls. I was exhausted and defeated.
Jen and i went home and took a nap followed by game night with friends. I woke up midway through the night and realized that if i opted for one of the less detailed designs we might still be able to pull off an entry the old fashioned way. Jen was (as usual) very supportive, and willing to help cut to make it all possible.
In the morning we collected supplies and got to work. About 30 straight hours of work later and we had "Respect the Ribbon" ready to submit to the show. We raced to the drop-off point, handed the painting over and allowed exhaustion to settle in.
We did rally to make it out to the show and see the other pieces. Sadly, this wasn't setup at all like an art show and was more of a popularity contest, so even at the 7pm start a few artists who brought large groups of friends with them already had their envelopes stuffed. By the end of the night the event organizers were apologizing for the way the event was setup and they vowed to change next year to make the voting more merit-based.
We had a fun evening and the small group that came out to support was amazing. No blue ribbon for this painting and certainly no billboard over portland, but i feel great about not caving on the personal goal, and feel successful in simply following through and submitting the work against all obstacles.
We'll call it a win.=)