Monday, October 3, 2011

To the Power of N

In the profession I've chosen I get to do a lot of neat things.  One of those things is answering calls for art/artists.  I am very selective about which calls I answer, because many are from "vanity galleries" (fee based galleries where the artist has to pay for everything).  I don't want to get caught up in that kind of situation.

Back in late May I was reading my Collagista! zine and found a call for artists for an exhibit being curated by Joel Lambeth of Collaroy, NSW Australia called "To the Power of N: Where N Equals 10".  It was very intriguing - essentially, whomever was chosen to be a part of the exhibit (and only 10 would be chosen) would receive the same packet of 10 pieces of ephemera and an A4-sized piece of illustration board.  In other words, ten artists would each create a collage using the same exact materials and each would be the same size (which is large for me).  I answered this call and promptly forgot about it, thinking it was a long shot that I'd ever get picked.

Imagine my surprise when I got an e-mail on July 4 stating that I was one of the ten who'd been chosen!  There were about 50 applicants total and I was one of the ten!

I got my package in the mail on July 24 - it only took FIVE DAYS from Australia.  I studied those ten pieces for a long time before anything really jumped out at me - and that was the challenge.  Joel said that he figured these pieces wouldn't be materials that we'd normally use and that's why he chose them.

I worked on and off on the collage - something I don't normally do.  Usually I start a piece and work on it until it's finished so that the flow isn't interrupted.  But this happened to be a time when a bunch of things were due at the same time so I had to go back and forth between projects.  I also wanted to complete it before I went to Chicago for the week on August 23.  And I did!  The collage was officially finished on Friday, August 19.  Here are the remaining scraps after the collage was finished (you can see the whole pieces here):

I mailed my collage on Monday, August 22.  The collage was due on Friday, September 16.  Scads of time!  I figured my collage would be in Joel's hands by September 6 at the latest, with 10 days to spare.

Remember when I said it took only five days for Joel's packet to reach me?  Well, it took five weeks for my collage to reach Joel.  He and I were corresponding every three days at the end and I had just sent him a "I've given up hope" e-mail the night before, when he wrote me to tell me it had FINALLY arrived.  I felt bad because it was 10 days late - Joel received it just last Monday, September 26.

Just yesterday morning, the exhibit went live!  Here is my piece, which I call "Perpetual Circus Event":

I can't tell you how neat it feels to be a part of an international exhibit like this (this is only the second time I've ever participated in an international call)!  And even though I've been featured online before, this is my first actual online exhibit.  I am so honored to be included amongst these other nine artists, three of whom are in my favorite collage book of all time, Masters: Collage: Major Works by Leading Artists.  

I also want to use this forum to publicly thank Joel Lambeth for his kindness (and patience!) throughout this whole process.  It has been a truly lovely experience and I look forward to seeing what he does in the future!


  1. Mel, You've described the experience beautifully!

  2. Very nice post Mel! And a very nice collage for the project too!