Saturday, May 24, 2014

Behind-The-Scenes Of The Figge Gala

Recently, I spent some time transforming the 3rd floor exhibition space at The Figge Museum for the Figge 'Art At Heart' Gala.

The challenge was to create a 1920s Parisian-esque atmosphere in the gallery space without putting any holes in the walls and create something that can be taken down/disassembled in just a few hours.

It was a tall order to be sure.  To insure success for this project, I enlisted the help of the Four-Foot Assassin -one of the most fiercely imaginative and inquisitive minds I know.  We spent a Saturday afternoon working on elements for wall projections.

Some of my early wax resist 'sketches'.  I only spent a few hours on them -which is a good thing, since I didn't like the results and I probably won't be including them in the final product.

Something I was a little more intrigued by was the silhouette of a street lamp cut out of black construction paper.  It takes a while to cut the image out, but once that part is done, I can create multiple images with the 'lamp'.  Those years of hand cutting silkscreens (Link To Images of Rubylith Film) are starting to pay off!

Testing out using a section of billboard for the background.  Love me some of them thar Ben Day Dots (Images of Ben Day Dots).

and some more....

A watercolor before any inked lines were added.

We are also going to need a few street signs for the evening.  With a jigsaw, a salvaged piece of plywood, several hours of work, and some paint, I got four 'signs' ready for Terry Rathje* to work his magic on (*because Terry Rathje needs more things to do with his freetime....).

After a few coats of paint and some sanding, the signs are ready to make the trip out to the L'Studio d'Terrence.

The 'thing' that actually set this whole endeavor in motion was being asked to build an Eiffel Tower for the Gala.  Everything up to this point in the post was extra 'garnish' I added to the entree.  Now it's time to deal with building an Eiffel Tower.  Did I mention I've never built one of these before?

Good people increase your chances to achieve good results.  With that in mind, I brought in Terry Rathje and Dean Kugler to be part of the fabrication process.  I can't even begin to articulate how ro-ro-robusto Dean and Dean's artwork are.  Here's a link to Dean's website (See For Yourself By Clicking Here!).  You'll have to take my word for him also being a really cool guy.  If you don't know where I stand on Terry Rathje, this must be your first visit to Punching Holes In The Rah-Rah.  Welcome!

Here are a couple of images of Dean and Terry building the outside 'silhouette' pieces for the tower.  I can't overstate the importance of getting the shape of these correct in the beginning.  If they're off, it won't look right.  The last thing you want to do is spend a full day building something that is meant to be recognizable and have people look at it and say 'What's that supposed to be?'.

The structure actually went up fairly quickly and we definitely needed that third set of hands.

The tower is starting to take shape.  This next image is courtesy of Melissa Mohr.

Tower-riffic goodness.


Another task that needed to be accomplished was to re-position some walls to make the space a little more intimate.  Robin Hill busted out the palette-jack, and her muscles to move several walls in the gallery as seen below.

I also wanted to build some light boxes that would conjure the 'feel' of blacklit windows above a cafe.  Basically I built three-sided light boxes with a double layer of vellum to diffuse the light.  The fabrication process burned through the better part of a day.

Midway through stapling the vellum to the frames, one of the 'E-clips' to my stapler broke.  It's just a 20 cent part, but without it, the pin falls out of the stapler rendering it inoperative and your project is basically hamstrung.  It's a problem that is best addressed with a gentle warm blanket of profanity.

A few ticks later and the window light boxes are nearly complete.

Now for a few pictures from the evening.

When the guests arrived they walked through a long starlit tunnel.  Unfortunately, I have no images of what it took to install 'the star drop' to form the hallway.  The short version of the story is that it was a one-hour project that took us five hours to complete.

Anyway, after the journey through the tunnel, the Gala guests were 'transported' back to 1920s Paris by donning costumes, taking the elevator upstairs, and pretending like crazy they were in 1920s Paris.

A few shots of the third floor.

A couple images of my good friend Kris Eitrheim.  Kris, Bob, Eileen, and I were 'the team' who installed the 'star drop'.  And when it ripped a bolt out of the wall, the 'star drop' did, in fact, drop.  Go figure.

Marybeth and Michelle pondering scaling the Eiffel Tower.

Did I mention there was wine at this wing ding?

My Beginning Drawing teacher, Mr. Russell Schmaljohn always tried to impress upon me the importance of line quality.  He was so correct.

Cheif Curator for the Figge Museum, Rima Girnius.  She was a huge help in installing the Landscape exhibition a few months back (click HERE to read about it).  Unfortunately, I didn't have any photos of her to include in my blog post, so she was unfairly excluded from the post.  Trust me, with 'Biceps Of Fury' like that her help was much appreciated.

A photo-rific photo-op.

An appreciative 'thanks' goes out to Alex, Makenzie, and Brooke for not only helping out with the Gala Auction, but also tolerating sitting at the rowdy artists' table in the back.

The Gala Committee posing for a pre-Gala photo Op -or- merely blocking the stairs in defiance of the Fire Code.........

Thanks to all who helped make the Gala a reality and to everyone who helped support the Gala.  A special 'thank you' to Wynne Schafer for her trust in my special brand of mayhem.

The 2014 Art at Heart Gala Committee was: Wynne Schafer, Eileen and Kris Eitrheim, Sara Adams, Heather Aaronson, Brian Allen, Bob DeBlaey, Natalie Dunlop, Victoria Freedman, Alex Fulton, Tom Goodall, Jessica Goodrich, Melanie Hanson, Robin Hill, Sarah Hoepner, Jane Koski, Amy Martens, Amanda Miller, Aaron McCombs, Bernadette Murphy, Makenzie Newton, Deb Roberts, Mary Sue Salmon, Brooke Schelly, Tim Schiffer, Nancy Seidler, Lynn Gingras-Taylor, Amy Trimble, Andrew Wallace, and me.

....and a HUGE 'Thanks' goes out to Robin Hill and Andrew Wallace for all of their help setting up the Gala the week prior to having a major show installation to deal with themselves.  Your generous insights, muscle, and patience were greatly appreciated!

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