I am still trying to catch up on everything, so instead of writing a real post today, I'm sharing this guest piece by Beth Patterson. Last year, Beth created and hosted the Circle C Artist Challenge Contest, which was quite probably the most innovative and exciting art contest this hobby has ever seen. Thank you, Beth. I'm already looking forward to the 2021 event!
The Circle C Artist Challenge Contest
by Beth Patterson
Those who know me best will tell you that the scariest words in the world are me hollering “OH BOY, I had an idea!”
Late last spring it seemed everyone was frustrated with painting and sculpting and model horses in general. My friends were having trouble getting motivated and every time I read a post it seemed there were issues with resin, painting, dullcote, casting, flaws, breaks, deadlines... you name it!
And then... I had an idea. Just like the Grinch it was a wonderful, awful idea. Inspiration came, of course, from Jennifer and NaMoPaiMo, but also from (of all places), The Wall Street Journal. Every week they do a feature on art gallery collections showcasing the most famous artists in history, and also they do an inspiration piece, where a painting inspires a flower arrangement or a sculpture inspires an arrangement of furniture. What our hobby needed was INSPIRATION and REARRANGING!
What better way than to completely flip how we view models? Instead of viewing them as the end results how about if they were the material? I pressed Erika “ChaCha” Isbell into service to help, and with her assistance, we created the Artist Challenge. Maggie Jenner-Bennett showed her support by offering a price we could afford to buy any Traditional resin she still had at the studio as the main prize, and by saying she would help judge. Our own Circle C girl scout equestrian program would be the recipient of any extra money we made to go towards their worthy programs.
The rules were simple and yet so complicated! Pick any deceased artisan (and yes I had to make a rule saying you couldn’t bump someone off just to use them) as your inspiration and then use a model horse as a 3D canvas. The complicated part? You couldn’t just copy someone’s work onto a horse. You needed to transform your model into something that the judges would recognize as capturing their vision. You could cut up the horse, put stuff ON the horse, put stuff IN the horse, rearrange the bits, make tiles out of the horse (Sandy Anderson, looking at you here!), use multiple horses, use bits of horses, add to the horse, subtract from it. Pretty much anything you could imagine! If you picked a landscaper as your inspiration maybe your pony became a chia pet? If you picked Dali, maybe your horse became a drippy clock?
As much as I admire the folks in this hobby and recognize their skill I was floored by the ideas and execution of their entries. We ended up with ten prize winners, with everything from beginners to some of our professional masters. Although almost forty people entered only twenty finished by the deadline so entry to prize ratio was pretty good.
Picking winners seemed almost impossible. What we ended up doing was googling a selection of images of the artisan’s work and then opening the pictures provided by the entrant of what they did. If we immediately got the look and feel of the artisan then we kept them in the prize pool. Unfortunately, I am not sure we managed to eliminate a single entrant with that criteria. Next we divided the group into skill levels. We decided to award a winner in each group, and also we dug up several extra prizes to use as special awards for anyone we thought needed extra recognition.
With three judges some categories were easy... two votes for an entry to win meant it won. A group where all three of us picked different winners required more time and negotiation LOL. By spacing out our special awards, we managed to recognize every entry picked as a winner by any judge. Especially in the “pro” category, we not only looked at the idea the entrant was aiming for but also the execution and detailing. I hope you enjoy looking through the groups and winners. I welcome your comments and am happy to pass on praise or you can join our Facebook group Circle C Artist Challenge Contest and post there yourself!
Also – we have been asked about doing this again and we are skipping 2020 and aiming for 2021!
Onto the photos, starting with the Children’s Group. This is our winner by Aiden Pritchard. He chose Stan Lee for his entry “Venom.”
Ellie Krueger chose Luis Jimenez.
Nadia Krueger chose Federic Auguste Bartholdi.
The winner of the Beginner’s Group was Amber Carter doing MC Escher!
Amber’s second entry was Dali.
Lauren Ball chose George Ford Morris, this is CM'ed from a painting!
And Victoria Ulrich also chose Escher. I was intrigued by the stair mane pattern...
The Amateur Group Winner was Amy De Waal doing Monet. Check out that water lily base!
Special Award for Taylor Ouzts doing Duchamp. Most Ironic Entry
Special Award for Carissa Kirksey, artisan George Rozen. Best American Dream
Special Award Sandy Anderson with John La Forge: Amazing use of horse as Materials
Special Award Karin Hullathi inspired by Malliyana of the Temple at Belur: Incredible use of time and space, as it was done in three days in an RV traveling to Florida with two preschool children.
Special Award Heather Jackson-Lain with Stan Winston: Best use of a dinosaur and Terminator in one entry.
Entry by Gretchen Glover inspired by Remington
Entry by Kim Prosek, inspiration Paul Goble
And, our OVERALL Winner came from this group! Here is Gretchen Glover’s Stephen Rolfe Powell inspired creation. We all loved this so much!
The Professional Group ended up in a tie. Yep, even with three of us, we couldn’t pick just one champion. And hey, we made up the contest, so we decided a tie would be fine! The first Co-Winner was Kristen Cermele with her Pedro Linares inspired piece.
The second Co-Winner was Mel Miller, with her piece inspired by Rene Lalique.
Stephanie Blaylock's piece was inspired by a local potter, Nell Cole Graves.
Airen Chandler’s inspiration was Pierre Louis Rouillard.
Additional photos of all the entries and the art that inspired them can be found in the albums on the Circle C Artist Challenge Contest Facebook page. Congratulations again to the winners!