Sunday, April 5, 2009

NWOC Art Show

Well, the NWOC Art Show that I mentioned a couple of posts ago was on Friday. It was fun but slightly disappointing. Sure beat the hell out of a day at school, though.
I got to school at 8:10 am, and met up with the other students and the art teacher, Mr. Warner. We got on the bus and drove like 20 miles out to Hillsboro and Century High School where the event took place. The artwork of students from eight schools was hung up in the gym. We hung up our work on the areas provided and went to look at other peoples' stuff. If anything, it was a humbling experience. No one who had contributed was older than 17, but much of the work looked spectacularly professional. I was pretty amazed at how good some of these kids were.
Here's some of the drawn art that was there. One of my submissions is the little red-matted one on the left. Not very noticeable next to the masterfully shaded giant on the right :D

After about ten minutes of walking around and making loud, impressed noises, the students from all eight schools were rounded up and sent to seminars being taught by professional artists. I'd chosen some sort of cartography class from someone who had worked for National Geographic. It sounded very interesting. Unfortunately, I didn't know my way around the school and the girl who said she was taking students to the cartography class instead took us all to claymation, then left before I could ask where I was supposed to be. Claymation was fun, but I learned absolutely nothing I didn't already know, and the eight second movie I produced with my group was something I could have done in twenty minutes at home. However, the rest of the class was wowed by my group's epic story of a cactus monster attacking a cowboy and getting shot, and everyone congratulated us afterward. Maybe it wasn't a complete waste of time after all.
When the claymation class was over, it was midmorning and cookies were being supplied in the hall. We all went and consumed sugar and conversed with students from other schools. Oh, and we traded cards.
Artist Trading Cards are playing-card sized pieces of artwork intended to be swapped and traded by artists at events such as the one I was at. Mr. Warner suggested we do a series on a certain theme, so I went with monsters. Here are the ones I made.
In left-to right order, we have Cthularry, a monster hunter, a second monster hunter, a Berserkerfish, a Bone Golem, a Chompabeast, a Scythebug, a Mutant Amphibian, and an unrelated bit of Warhammer 40,000 fan art. You can click and view them larger, but they scanned at a very high resolution, so the enlarged image is way bigger then that 3x4 inch card were. Sorry about that.
Anyhow, I traversed the crowd eager to find some badass pieces of artwork I could add to my collection. The sad truth was this: Trading my cards felt less like fair exchange and more like theft. Here's why. First and foremost, you got entered into a drawing for a new easel if you collected cards from all eight schools, so if you were from Parkrose like me and the other person already had a card from a Parkrose artist, they'd apologetically snub you and move on. Therefore, it was hard to even find people who were willing to trade. When I did, I'd show them my cards and tell them to pick one out. They'd take one and then hand me one of theirs at random, often not even showing me the sheet their cards were in. I had no control over what I got and several of the cards were, bluntly, crap. The girl who got my Scythebug card handed me a sketch of an eye, well-shaded but kind of dead-looking, and the card had stains from soup or coffee something on it. A guy who snapped up Cthularry showed me his sheet and told me to pick any one of his nine completely identical bits of cardboard that had a computer printout glued on them with the word "invasion" and a picture of a split pyramid. It just really bugged me how I had spent at least half an hour on each card over the course of a week to make sure they all looked as awesome as possible, and a lot of these people had clearly whipped out their cards the night before. I'm really glad I scanned mine before losing them to lazy people.
Well, after my cards were robbed from me, it was time for the next class. I'd signed up for large-scale sculpture, and walking into the classroom, I saw a bunch of papier-mache stuff on the tables. The truth is, papier-mache does not interest me in the slightest, so I thought to myself, "Hell, I already went to the wrong class once. Let's find a class that actually looks like I might learn something." So I went into the Drawing Composition classroom.
The Drawing Composition teacher was an old university art teacher. He talked for a while about the importance of creating a mood in art, then had us listen to a piece of music which Blane (also an entrant in the show and sitting next to me at the time) was convinced was the opening theme of the game Gears of War. Whether or not this was the case, the music was very grimly epic and was clearly meant to accompany a battle scene. The instructor had us make abstract marks on large pieces of paper which represented what the music made us think of.
Here we have the tools used and the edge of my drawing on the left. We repeated the process with a much softer, happier-sounding piece of music. (on a side note: Blane, at this point, not understanding the point of creating impressionistic art, was busily drawing giant zombies stepping on people on his paper.) The process was kind of interesting, but in the end all I really learned is that it's important to think about the shapes and lines in your art and how they affect the mood of the piece.
Next was lunch in Century's spacious cafeteria. There was a guest speaker there who supposedly was a renowned artist who could give everyone words of wisdom to remember. However, I found him to be a chronic mumbler with nothing much to say. He rambled about his life, going to rock concerts and drawing the people there, going to the desert and drawing landscapes, etc. etc. It was sort of interesting, but I gained nothing from listening to it. Well, what I could hear, at least. If the poor bastard had just spoken up, I might have been able to hear what he was trying to tell us, fifteen feet from where my friends and I were sitting. I guess being a good artist doesn't make you a good speaker. And his paintings were pretty good.
Here he is in all his mumbliness.
After lunch was the awards ceremony where professional artist judges would name their favorites, and many ribbons and prizes were to be given out. Mr. Warner got a call from our bus driver soon after the event started, though. The man insisted that we meet him out side at 1:50 pm--five minutes from then and we had only just gotten started with the awards.
The Parkrose students and teachers dejectedly left the building, with a brief pause for me and my friend Brenda to jack a couple of NWOC '09 stenciled posters hanging on the doors. We proceeded to wait outside until 2:10 for the punctual bus driver to show up. He threw me a dirty look as I got inside like it was my fault he was 20 minutes late. The drive home was uneventful, but I did some drawing and talked with Mr. Warner about art. Blane fell asleep on the bus and looked exactly like a hobo.
So, overall, fun, and better than spending the day at school. It felt like an event that should have happened over several days, though. Everything seemed rushed.
I'll post my entries to the show as soon as I can.

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