|Chuck Scalin with work ©Mary Montague Sikes|
Scalin, Professor Emeritus at Virginia Commonwealth University and a current instructor at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Studio School, first discussed the making of some of his collages. One was created with rusty metal pieces supplied by friends from all over the country, including China Town in New York City.
He talked about walking the streets of Paris where he found portions of buildings and streets that interested him. He took pictures that later became art photographs resembling images from outer space. Later, he showed a new limited edition coloring book featuring the work of 30 artists, a collaboration for which he was responsible. This man is a remarkable artist.
The limited edition box was the object that I found most fascinating. For a solo exhibition in Ghostprint Gallery in Richmond, Scalin created groups of evidence collages for cold cases. He used archival photo boxes and pieces of Plexiglas made to look aged and wiped away in the middle to reveal the "evidence." The work was so convincing that people believed the cases were real. However, they were actually developed completely from the imagination of the artist. Scalin got so many questions about the cases and the boxes of "evidence," pieces of crime stored away that he started to think about getting writers to create short stories of 600 words or less about the 15 cold cases he had made up. The project was a big success. He made 100 limited edition evidence boxes that contain the stories, photographs of the actual collages, and much more. Not only did he have a gallery art exhibition, but he had a "book" as well.
Creative minds are astonishing. Collaboration of artists and writers is truly a marvelous experience. Scalin's work is a Body of Evidence that demonstrates the possibilities.