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.
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.
Interesting article from the Wall Street Journal on alternative vending machines, including Art-0-mat!
Traditional vending machines disappeared from 134,000 locations between 2007 and 2010, according to the latest available data from Vending Times, an industry publication. Sales from vending machines sank more than 11%, to $42.2 billion in the same period.
Amid the changes, a new group of entrepreneurs is trying to build a new vending industry, outfitting machines with high-tech features, and filling them with live bait, prescription drugs, electronics and even art.
Here’s one of those, “I can’t believe nobody has done this before” ideas that is so exciting! At Callithump! we strive to give credit to our inspirations. Growing as a culture means taking the ideas that have come before, adding something new to them, and passing them on to others to take further. We’re part of a creative process that started before we were born and will continue after we’re gone. But people still deserve credit for their contribution to that process. At last someone has come up with a way to make that happen!
Created in a laboratory to be perfect life forms, the Protos were discarded when they failed to live up to their creator’s expectations. Now these flawed creations of an incompetent creator wander the Earth, looking for love, acceptance, a safe place to call home…
Meet the Protos! The new quality entertainment product from Callithump!
We created the Protos in contrast to the toys one typically finds in commercial vending machines: designed in the US, produced in sweat shops in China, technically perfect but completely disposable and utterly soulless. We intentionally started with little to no skill or prior knowledge of sculpting or casting. Our lack of ability is really obvious, but the flaws bring a humanity, humor and uniqueness to the figures that is completely lacking in commercial products.
As this project continues, the Protos will evolve. With each batch of new Protos, the scientist will get closer to his goals of creating better life forms. The new Protos will become more perfect but less human in the process. Meanwhile the original Protos will discover their true strengths and learn to work together to gain the happy lives they deserve. Is conflict inevitable!
Cover art for the new Callithump! project, Art This
Art This is an invitation. Intended for those times when you’re feeling creatively stuck, each capsule contains an object and a phrase. These are your creative prompts. Will you react in a classical manner, using the object as the subject of a still life drawing or painting? Maybe mixed media is more to your liking and you’ll incorporate the object into a larger piece. Perhaps you’ll write a poem about it. Or maybe the object is already art, a Duchampian readymade, only needing to be put on display. It’s your choice.
Art This just finished a run at the Gannett Gallery in Augusta and will soon be featured at the Harlow Gallery in Hallowell.