Saturday, March 15, 2014

March 8 2014: VSA Day of Arts For All

                                         Janine Moore's "Orange Groves", 1st Place Emerging Artist

                                                     Henry Hess’s “No Place Like Home”

               (Spartan meets Pyramid Head” by Jonah Farmer.)

If you follow my blog, you know I usually go to The Day of Arts for All on March 8, to report on it. But this year, I was even in it! My piece was called “Pig Head”, which used bright colors and saturation to illustrate a pig head via digital art. Aside from art, there was also some music by Sarah Bellish, a young soloist who uses her experience with disability to write music. A great opportunity to listen to some of the great life experience disability brings, in a soulful way! There were also videos meant to illustrate the experience of disability. The theme of the day seemed  to be representing these perceptive  personal experiences.

 Then the awards came. All who participated got an award. Including me! All the pieces were great, but the two I liked best were Henry Hess’s “No Place Like Home”, showing Dorothy’s ruby slippers, which won third place in the Youth Artist category. 2nd Place in the same category went to a Halo/Silent Hill inspired piece! “Spartan meets Pyramid Head” by Jonah Farmer. 1st place in the same category went to Nathaniel Curtiss of Worthington for Where Miles Davis Recorded The Birth of Cool! A super cool use of perspective! Best in Show was called: “Beautiful Nature Life: Where Everyone Would Like to Be”, a mixed media piece by the team of Wendi Olszewski, Shawnda Osswald, and Stephanie Spencer, depicting a brightly colored rural life.

But, everyone wins in my book, because we all told our stories through art: “Why the pig head?” Someone asked me in front of my piece. “Why not?” I said. The point for me is just to create something that didn’t exist before. The image that jumped out at me in the framework of my color scheme was a pig head. I’m interested in seeing how my mind and experience as a disabled person translates to my creations, as each
artist did through their own perspective. By his/her own experience.

Going back to perspectives, the films Be My Brother is an Australian short film about a man with Down Syndrome who records everything he observes, but he cannot get his brother to record something on the bench with him. He displays a dazzling intelligence, quoting everything from Shakespeare to The Lion King, and even charms a woman who he describes as the “most attractive woman in the world”. The film ends on a bus, with his brother hugging him.    

Sensory Overload is a film from the perspective of an autistic. As such, there is intermittent sound, and sometimes it becomes increasing overwhelming. From the blaring of city sirens to a cashier tapping a pen in a café. Wild colors add to the disorientation, and autistic perspective. The film ends in silence as a woman helps the boy pick up papers he lost from his backpack.

We ended with a comedy called Jazz Hand. In this a Californian woman with a prosthetic hand enters a dance audition. While tap dancing, her hand falls off and the choreographer recoils in exaggerated disgust. She puts her hand back on! But backwards! Lots of big laughs from this one, and nice to see a “disability movie” that is a comedy. “Do you think he noticed?” Asks the dancer. Duh! Yes!

I’m pleased to have been a part of The Day of Arts for all. It was a fun time, and I got to get my art out and look and other people’s art! That’s always a good day for me when I can get positive messages about disability! We are all capable of becoming more than we appear to be. Thanks, VSA! I had a great time.
For a full list of Day of Arts for All winners visit VSA's website:

                                                     ("Pig Head" by Chris Bowsman.)

1 comment:

  1. loved this piece Chris, and I also agree it was an opportunity for everyone, which is what art does, to tell their story. I enjoyed the dimensionality of yours as standing in front of it in the frame the pig head actually seemed to be floating on the surface. cool! The short films... fabulous.