September 19, 2012 was the official release date of our finest work: Gwendolyn Aurelia LeClair. It’s been a happy, scary, wonderful, stressful time. While everyone who knew anything about babies warned us we’d be incredibly busy nothing could have prepared us for just how every single waking moment would be taken up with our new baby.
Callithump! has been put on a back burner because of this. Well, more like on a back shelf in the fridge, intending to be gotten to just as soon as we have a moment that keeps seeming like it’ll arrive at any moment, and suddenly it’s almost half a year later and that moment still hasn’t arrived.
So, if you’ve sent us a message, bought anything from us, made plans with us or anything along those lines, we beg your patience and your forgiveness. We’ve had way more on our plate than we ever thought possible. We still love you. If you’re waiting on us for something, you might want to remind us, though!
Bangor-area artists transform old newspaper vending machines into art installations
By Katie Day, Special to the BDN
Posted Aug. 08, 2012, at 4:18 p.m.
Terri Sanzenbacher was inspired by Shakespeare and named her piece after his famous quote “All the world?s a stage.”
BANGOR, Maine — Downtown Bangor will be decorated with some unique art installations from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10. The Penobscot Theatre Company, in partnership with several local artists, will unveil Art Outta the Box, a self-guided art installation in which the artists transformed old newspaper vending machines — donated by the Bangor Daily News — into artistic visions.
The project began after PTC board director Mary Budd and PTC staff toured the Bangor Daily News facility last spring and discovered the unused newspaper machines in storage.
“Destined for the trash heap, they seemed ripe for reinvention, so we thought, ‘Let’s turn some of these cool artifacts into art!’” Budd said. With the newspaper’s blessing, PTC took the machines and challenged local artists to transform them into something representative of theater.
“We’re thrilled to be participating in the Artwalk and helping to get great art out of the box and into the community. The creative spirit is alive and well in Greater Bangor,” said PTC artistic director Bari Newport in a press release.
The boxes have taken on a wide variety of new identities, inspired by plays and playwrights. Artist Carol Michaud designed a sculptural piece, bringing Audrey, a bloodthirsty plant from “Little Shop of Horrors,” to life, and making the newspaper box unrecognizable. This piece will be placed in front of the Charles Inn in West Market Square. Carol Brooks covered her box with magnolia blooms inspired by “Steel Magnolias,” a play that PTC has produced in 1995 and 2009.
Terri Sanzenbacher was inspired by Shakespeare and named her piece after his famous quote “All the world’s a stage.” She collaged well-known faces from many eras onto the sides of her box, finishing it off with text. Annette Dodd, co-owner of the Rock & Art Shop and a jewelry maker, created a box called “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” which will be placed outside of the Rock & Art Shop. The Central Street Farmhouse also will display one of the box creations. Amanda Boudreau’s design inspired by “Singin’ in the Rain,” which is topped with a black umbrella, will be featured outside the store.
Also participating in the project is a group of artists associated with the University of Maine’s Intermedia Master of Fine Arts program. Owen Smith, Kate Dawson, Jess LeClair, Matt LeClair, Amy Pierce, Heather Perry, Peg Killian, David Colagiovanni and Neil Shelly all have been working hard to transform the newspaper boxes into functional pieces of art for the community. Kate Dawson, who has spearheaded the project, is hoping to make “Street Art Machine Boxes,” also called “SAMboxes.” Her hope is to create artwork that will stay in the community by getting local businesses to sponsor the boxes over the long term.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to support the Penobscot Theatre while giving area residents and visitors new ways to experience art,” Dawson said in a press release.
In addition to the shops listed above, the art pieces will be on display at Epic Sports, Rudman Winchell, the University of Maine Museum of Art, Thistles Restaurant and other prominent downtown Bangor locations. Maps of the Artwalk will be available in several locations, including the University of Maine Museum of Art, The Maine Discovery Museum, Blue Heron, Metropolitan Soul, Epic Sports, Giacomos and The Rock & Art Shop.
PTC also will be hosting a silent auction of the transformed boxes at the Bangor Opera House during the Artwalk on Aug. 10. More information and instructions are available online at penobscottheatre.org, at the Bangor Opera House or on the Downtown Bangor Arts Collaborative’s Facebook page, facebook.com/DowntownBangorArtsCollaborative.
I’ve been taking a break from the Internet as a creative tool. I’ll come back to it some day, but for my current creative direction, I’m more interested in endeavors that make something that can be held and not just watched onscreen. There was a time, though, when I was really caught up in it. Sadly, most of that work is gone now, accidentally or intentionally deleted, or just plain misplaced. I just came across this one, though. I made it when we were living in Belfast. It’s hard to believe that this was our front yard!
A lesson that gets drilled into you in graphic design class is to use just one typeface per design. Two are sometimes permissible, but only if one is serif and one sans serif. However, if we look to the past, we see a different story:
Almost every line uses a different typeface and yet the design is still elegant. How? How were they able to make this work? I think there’s a lesson here. Design rules are just there to keep amateurs out of trouble. A true designer makes their own rules.
Eric Toscano is an MFA candidate at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. His thesis exhibition involves a newspaper vending machine. You can follow his progress here. You can learn more about Eric from his website.
Of course we’re exited about Eric’s project. Not only because it’s a vending machine are project, but also, as we said before, the broadside, or “newspaper” as it came to be called, was originally the domain of artists, poets, writers and political activists. It was co-opted by news publishers in the 1700s as a way of avoiding paying taxes. With newspapers on the decline, it’s time to steal the format back! We had plans for doing our own projects using newspaper vending machines but could never obtain any! Naturally we’re quite jealous of Eric’s vending machines! But we’re still looking forward to seeing how his project unfolds.
The scientist has not been forthcoming with accurate information about the Protos. We’ve assembled a little information through observation and through interviews. Any additional information will be most welcomed.
Proto Note #1. The Protos were cast away one at a time. Some were too young to remember where they came from, and most are unaware that there are any other Protos out there. The scientist just assumed they would die when left on their own, so even he doesn’t realize there are Protos loose in the world.
Proto Note #2. To create the Protos, the scientist mixed human DNA with that of other species to try to create beings that combined the best attributes of each species. Unfortunately the creatures usually wound up with the least obviously useful traits and got discarded.
Proto Note #3: The Protos are created in batches. With each batch the scientist becomes a little better at it. Protos in later batches are more aesthetically pleasing and have more obviously useful attributes. However, to date none of the Protos have lived up to the scientist’s standards.
Proto Note #4: Unbeknownst to the scientist, some Protos have hidden secondary traits based on their genetic mix. They manifest in times of stress and in time may cause the Proto to evolve into something new. These Protos look exactly like other Protos, except they glow in the dark.
Proto Note #5: With one exception, first batch of Protos were obvious failures to the scientist and were discarded before they gained sentience. They must make their way in the world with no knowledge of who they are or where they came from. The later batches were more promising, and the scientist kept many of them around for longer. They’re aware that they were created, and then rejected. Which would be worse?
Proto Note #6: Protos vary in size, but they generally appear to be at the midpoint between the average sizes of the creatures their DNA came from. A cross between a Newfoundland dog and a starfish would be the size of a small dog. However, most Protos are actually very young, have been living in stressful conditions and are likely to be malnourished. If they find a happy home, who knows what they might grow into?
Proto Note #7: Protos, at least those from the first and second batches, pose no threat to humans. Misunderstandings occur because their physical appearance is often frightening and their behavior is sometimes strange. But really, they want nothing more than love, acceptance, and a safe place to live. In other words, they’re just looking for home
Proto Note #8: Within a batch there were often revisions, so many Protos have near-identical copies of themselves somewhere in the world. Sometimes many copies. Very few of them are aware of this fact, however.
Proto Note #9: All the original Protos were albinos. The scientist didn’t think to give them skin pigment until later in the process. Being completely lacking in aesthetic sense, however, the colors he chose were often random and strange.
Proto Note #10: Is conflict inevitable? With each batch of Protos, the scientist comes closer to his dream of creating superior beings. But this is a man who callously discards his creations just because they disappoint them. The “superior beings” may in fact be as monstrous on the inside as the early batches were on the outside. Will the first Protos bow to the new Protos as their masters? Or will they unite to stop them?
Lil’ Otis was one of the doctor’s earliest creations and may have actually been an early “rough draft” predating the first series of Protos. His genetics appear to have come mostly from human sources. It is unknown if his large eyes and tentacular arms are the result of tinkering with human genes, or mixing in genes from other species. What we do know, however, is that Lil’ Otis is very fond of the smell of clean clothes, especially kids’ clothes. He loves to sneak into closets just to smell them. Unfortunately, his large eyes are very sensitive to light. As long as lights are on, he’s trapped in the closet and can’t leave until its dark again.
Le Roi is the self-proclaimed King of the Protos. Initially, the doctor thought Le Roi was a successful creation and kept him around the lab, training him to be a lab assistant/henchman. He’s one of the few Protos who is aware that there are other Protos in the world, although as yet he’s been unable to locate any others. Le Roi is cunning and manipulative and highly intelligent. Cast out for being too talkative, Le Roi now seeks to find and unite the other Protos. His plan for what he’ll do once he’s united them varies. Some days he plans to redeem them in the doctor’s eyes by proving their value. Some days he plots revenge against the doctor for casting them out into the world to die.
Otto is one of the more fortunate Protos. Otto possesses a single arm that is so long that he must wrap it around himself when he’s not using it. Thus he grew up in the comfort of a constant hug. Although he’s strange looking, his appearance is goofy and completely non-threatening. His long arm is obviously useful for reaching things off the highest shelf. Otto was taken in by a family of Sci Fi fans who believed him to be a kindly alien on the run from a secret government agency. There he lives to this day, having forgotten his true origins, but happy nonetheless.