Collaborative project sees a creative reuse forest

Photo by Joey Lopez.
Photo by Joey Lopez.

See the Forest for the Trees is a remarkable artistic partnership between Spare Parts, the Southwest School of Art Teen Program (aka Bee Nation), and AP Art Lab. Members of Bee Nation decided they wanted to make a statement with a project for this year’s Contemporary Art Month (CAM). Under the guidance of Spare Part’s Founder and Director Mary Elizabeth Cantú 15 students collectively envisioned a large tree demonstrating the connection of art to the environment. “The theme of the exhibition revolves around the environment, material culture and waste,” explained Cantú. “Because, it’s not waste until we waste it.” Teen Program Coordinator and international installation, performance, and video artist, Julia Barbosa-Landois guarantees, “you will be wowed by this innovative installation made by local teens.”

Cardboard is everywhere. It’s used to package over 85 percent of all products sold in the United States. Seemingly innocuous, cardboard is the single largest component of municipal solid waste around the world.  Cardboard and paper waste make up 41% of the solid waste stream. According to this informative web article one ton of recycled cardboard saves:

  • 390 kWh hours of electricity
  • 46 gallons of oil
  • 6 million Btu’s of energy
  • 9 cubic yards of landfill space

It’s all about imagination and creativity

 Using over 400 square feet of discarded cardboard and reclaimed materials such as reused cardboard, plastic, paper and found objects from their homes and schools, Bee Nation students created this colorful, decorative tree to ‘uncover the aesthetics of detritus and reexamine their relationship with the discarded.’ Celia realized, “Until we did this project I had no idea the amount of trash we make as a society. It kind of freaked me out.” The student artists worked on their project beginning in January. First came the design and then the construction of the trunk and branches. Truly a tree of life there is a cornucopia of multimedia vignettes worth your while to give up close perusal. “Coming from a home of six people, we always have a LOT of toilet paper rolls. I learned that they can make really cool flower designs if you just alter their shape. That goes for all scraps of trash,” explained Alexis.

Someone said this to me the other day and it’s pretty on point – “Art is about transformation.”

See the Forest for the Trees

 

The resulting installation gives used cardboard a new life that honors its forest origins. “We didn’t know how it would look until it all came together during the installation,” said Bee Nation’s Elizabeth. Amanda Poplawsky, offered her AP Art Lab Studio located at 1906 South Flores for the exhibition. “I love working with youth in connection with social issues and activism,” she states. The above picture shows the tree from the front with closer views of some of the amazing details that went into the artistic construction. No wonder this installation won a Contemporary Art Month Cammie–the R. Mutt Award for Novel media turning something that isn’t art into art (see below photo with Cantú and Poplawsky) (March, 2016).

Cammie Award 2016

Cantú added, “Through this project I hope our artists are compelled to continue this type of art making. I hope these students see how their work can inspire and educate the community. Finally, I hope they understand that it doesn’t matter how young or young at heart you are, you have the ability to make positive change in the world.” This Tree of Life represents the hope for a healthier, more sustainable future. Because, there’s no such thing as thrown away!

 

Spare Parts is SA2020 nonprofit partner and this event was “Awesome Certified.”

 

 

Moving Painting—the art of the swing

Imagine lying on your belly in a big fabric swing, kind of like swinging like Batman as a kid. With a non-traditional painting utensil—think silk flowers, squishy ball, hand broom, even a flip flop rubber sandal—dipped in paint. Your educator/facilitator gently pushes you over across an area of canvases collected from thrift stores to freely apply marks. Slinging, flinging, dribbling and dabbing—you’re creating a masterpiece like no other.

sacurrentMOVINGPAINTING_begin

Moving Painting is a cross-disciplinary performance and visual art experience designed by spare parts which debuted at the contemporary arts showcase event Luminaria 2015.  “The concept for Moving Painting percolated in my thoughts for some time before finally sharing it earlier this year with Gabriela Santiago and Roberta Hassele,” said Mary Cantú, Founder and Director of spare parts. “I was hesitant to talk about it because it was a wacky idea and wasn’t sure it would be accepted.”

sacurrentMOVINGPAINTING__But spare parts advisory board members Santiago and Carla Berryman (who helped write the proposal) have no problem with not only accepting, but embracing, the non-traditional art experience. Currently serving as Director/Co-Chair Contemporary Art Month San Antonio, Hassele joined the team to  bring her considerable experience and talents to the project. The result is the creation of a unique, free-form artistic experience which speaks to children and adults alike.

It challenges participants, as well as audience to rethink artistic expression.

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Captured comments from Moving Painting participants.

Luminaria looked at the proposal and noticed our performance needed to hang from a secure structure. Initial plans included the installation of scaffolding. Fortunately, CrossFit Mind Body Soul, a business on this year’s Luminaria footprint, was open to hosting Moving Painting. “Our experience was very positive with Andrew Lilly and the entire CrossFit staff, “states Cantú. Lilly described Moving Painting as “unique because you’re constantly moving around the paintings seeing everything from a different angle/perspective instead just staring at it straight up and down as it sits still in front of you.”

Kinetic, creative, interactive, colorful, wacky and fun

It’s nostalgic; it reminds people of swinging on the playground. It’s open ended: you can paint as much or as little as you want; you can experiment with colors and mark making.

“I would love to see Moving Painting installed in the middle of huge closed arena like the Alamodome; at The DoSeum, out in a grand public place like Market Square; at a venue such as Brick at Blue Star,” said Hassele. “Or, at parks, birthday parties, in museums, back at Crossfit MBS, team-building events for businesses/organizations, in your backyard, Fiesta, Siclovia, and Chalk It Up (replace paint for chalk),” added Cantú. “There are endless possibilities.”

Nina Hassele (l) & Mary Cantu (r)
Roberta Hassele (l) & Mary Cantu (r)

Good news! The Moving Painting experience is for hire. If you are interested in the bringing this unique fun to your next event. Contact sparepartstudio@gmail.com.

Luminaria: Established in 2008, Luminaria is a contemporary arts festival unique to San Antonio. The two-night event is a celebration of the arts presenting new works by performance, literary and visual artists.

 

 

Deep In The Heart: A Texas Trilogy – spare parts MINI ART MUSEUM Travels to Europe

June 2015 San Antonio MINI ART MUSEUM Exhibition travels to Europe_PRESS RELEASE
Deep In The Heart: A Texas Trilogy
The Spare Parts MINI ART MUSEUM travels across the Atlantic June 8, 2015 to exhibit artwork by Vincent Valdez, Angela Fox & Christiana Puente.

The MINI ART MUSEUM (MAM) is proud to present Deep in the Heart: A Texas Trilogy, an exhibition featuring the work of three San Antonio born- & based-artists, that will travel through Europe June 8-24, 2015.

Deep in the Heart: A Texas Trilogy artists are: 2015 Texas State Artist Vincent Valdez, Angela Fox & East Central High School senior/Visual Arts Scholastic Event (VASE) 2015 Texas State medalist Christiana Puente.

“Not only are participating artists pushing boundaries in this exhibition because this is the smallest work they have ever created (& commissioned by a museum), they are also surpassing geographical borders,” explains MAM Board Member Nancy Casanova.

“My artwork is going to places I have never been before,” exclaims Angela Fox.

Casanova will exhibit & document Deep in the Heart: A Texas Trilogy in the following European cities June 8-24, 2015: Paris, Munich, Venice, Florence & Rome. “Each artist created a small-scale portrait reflective of our community’s diverse artistic craftsmanship, & we are pleased to share their work with the rest of the world,” Casanova continues.

“Each artwork is no larger than a business card (2×3 inches) but packs a powerful story. Don’t let size deceive you,” notes Mary Elizabeth Cantú, Spare Parts Founder/MAM Co-Founder. “We provide the magnifying glasses, too.”

Vincent Valdez, Angela Fox & Christiana Puente (left to right)
Deep in the Heart: A Texas Trilogy artists: Vincent Valdez, Angela Fox & Christiana Puente (left to right)

“We are ecstatic that the MINI ART MUSEUM is going to Europe & I don’t think we could ask for a better group of artists to represent San Antonio,” says MAM Co-Founder Gabriela Santiago.

The Spare Parts MAM is a non-traditional art venue & serves as a site-specific institution that generates accessible fine art experiences.

Spare Parts founded the MINI ART MUSEUM in 2013 to bring the fine arts museum to schools & the community. This opportunity for schools seeks to eliminate bus fees, complicated scheduling & simply brings fine art to classrooms & the world.

In 2014 & 2015 the MINI ART MUSEUM won back-to-back Contemporary Art Month Through the Looking Glass Awards for Bending Perceptions. This year San Antonio Magazine recognized the MINI ART MUSEUM as the city’s Best Program Introducing Youth to the Art World.

Follow the MINI ART MUSEUM on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/miniartmuseum/) & Instagram (MINIARTMUSEUM). #weeart