Daddy's Christmas Angel

Monday, October 13, 2014

Combining Creativity with the Imagination of an Artist and the Skill of Many Writers

Chuck Scalin with work ©Mary Montague Sikes
When I saw the array of examples artist Chuck Scalin brought to show as part of his program for Metropolitan Richmond Artist Association, I realized he was truly a kindred spirit. Among the intriguing collages of paint, glass, paper, and rust, there was an amazing box featuring the collaboration of his work with that of 15 writers. How exciting.

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.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The evidence collages is a cool idea. That's using multiple creative ideas in one.
Images from outer space. Those photos would be cool to see.

Chuck Scalin said...

Mary, many thanks for posting this article about my recent presentation to the Metropolitan Richmond Artists Association. It was a pleasure having the opportunity to meet you and the other members attending the talk. So glad to know you enjoyed it also! Chuck

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Monti .. I can see a great link here with my recent post about Narducci - which you kindly commented on ... fascinating how people's minds can work ... Chuck Scalin sounds fascinating - I can see why you were entranced.

Cheers Hilary

Mary Montague Sikes said...

They are imaginative, Alex, and something you would enjoy. Thanks for commenting.

Chuck, you are very welcome. How exciting to see your collaborative projects!

Hilary, thanks for visiting. I always learn something important when I go to your blog!