Although my husband, son, and I walked around Artprize for over three hours discovering art in downtown Grand Rapids, I had trouble specifically locating art that incorporated technology. There were a few pieces at Amway that used photographs and light to create interesting effects, but they did not use technology in a way that I was hoping.
Enter Megan E. B. Foldenauer, an artist standing next to a large expressive carbon rendering of a man’s eyes in The B.O.B. On the wooden beam between her entry and another artist’s on the first floor was a small screen of a video of her creating her entry. Megan used a GoPro camera to capture every moment she worked on her piece. I made sure to grab her card with her entry number attached.
In fact, I grabbed every artist’s card that I came across in hopes of finding more ties to technology. When I got home, I filtered through each one and sorted them into piles. The first pile was for artists that only displayed their email or nothing at all. The second pile was for those artists that had a website, a Twitter, a Facebook page, or some way to contact them. I was surprised by what I found, which was that more than half of the entries I came across had no way for me to discover more of the artists’ content or contact them! When I came across Megan’s card, however, I was pleasantly surprised.
Megan’s card featured a QR code that linked to the video on Youtube that she placed next to her entry. In it she explains her process and the reasons she uses specific tools (Foldenauer, 2015). She also has her website displayed with detailed looks at “Rob,” her piece, and sends you to her entry on the Artprize website for voting. Her website, which was also on the card, was easy to navigate, and featured other works that she has completed and some that are for sale (Foldenauer, 2015). Megan’s was not the only card with this feature, but she is the only one who I saw who incorporated a GoPro.
As for general innovative awareness outside of fine art, I took note of Wood TV 8. The WoodTV news crew was promoting Wood TV 8 and Artprize through Twitter. Television anchors were holding a cardboard cutout of a mock Twitter feed picture with #ImonTV8, #woodtv, and #artprize on it. People can share their pictures via Twitter with the aforementioned hashtags. I thought it was a fun and smart way to promote Artprize and Wood TV together. I enjoyed watching everyone giggle while taking their pictures, too.
I downloaded the Artprize app before I arrived in Grand Rapids. However, I failed to open it during my visit. I didn’t realize that it would be instrumental in my Artprize adventure, as I had a native Grand Rapidian friend who was guiding me around. I immediately realized my misstep on the way home and opened the app.
It was readily apparent that not having done so had detracted from my experience. There were activities I could have taken my toddler to that would have made my life easier for a little while. I realized that I would no longer be able to vote since I was out of the Grand Rapids area.
I also didn’t realize that the Pantone colors that were following me the entire way actually served a purpose. As a fan of Pantone, I struggled with why I kept running across the same two colors on the sidewalk. I was hoping to find an activity specific to Pantone. It wasn’t until I opened the app that I understood that I had been circling the same area and that there were six other areas that I didn’t even walk in to (Woods, 2015). I guess there is always next year!
Overall, I was surprised by the lack of effort that artists employed to market themselves. I feel like Megan did an outstanding job reaching her audience, but she was just one (of few) of many that did not. As society as a whole becomes more and more technologically savvy, artists are going to have to create a solid presence for themselves on the web and become innovative in their uses of technology if they want to make a name for themselves.
Additionally, the awareness of the Artprize app needs to be increased, especially since more and more artists are coming from outside of Grand Rapids (McAboy, 2015). I could not have been the only one who suffered without it.
Moreover, I would like to see the inclusion of QR codes in lieu of voting cards. I think the cards are nice to look at, but I feel like they’re inevitably a waste of paper. Also, I think using something like a QR code instead of paper could lend an interesting dynamic to future entries.
Foldenauer, M. (2015). Rob (Art Prize ’15). Retrieved September 29, 2015, from http://www.meganlovestodraw.com/#/rob-art-prize-15/
Foldenauer, M. (Director). (2015). Rob – Photorealistic Drawing Timelapse – Final Cut [Motion picture]. United States: Youtube. GoPro
McAboy, K. (2015, September 24). More international artists participating in Artprize. Retrieved September 28, 2015, from http://woodtv.com/2015/09/24/more-international-artists-participating-in-artprize-7/
Woods, J. (2015, August 23). Explore the Artprize Seven Pathways. Retrieved September 28, 2015, from http://www.artprize.org/blog/explore-the-artprize-seven-pathways