POSTED ON NOVEMBER 5, 2008:
Red Shirt, Blue Shirt
Philbrook event guides this yearning artist to his happy place
I am no artist, but I play one on...
No, I won't finish that. Can't really. I've touched on it before.
Some are born double-jointed, others out there have 206 artistic bones in their bodies, and a select few are without a single creative bone. I'm somewhere between the latter two anatomical constructions.
Having said that, I think we all need to create and feel creative. It builds confidence in some and inspiration in others. In my case, it builds both, yet, it's often frustrating. Simply observing the process performed by others can have that effect on me. But, when I've completed my masterpiece, I step back, puff out my chest and tell anyone who's within shouting distance, "Yeah, I made that."
My brashness was down a notch or two on the evening of October 16th, because a) I was in a public setting (museum = classy) and b) all in attendance were creating very similar items to my own. Local screen print artists were the catalysts for the event.
Being a braggart isn't as enjoyable when your peers stake the same claim to creative genius as you do.
I had been looking forward to the Philbrook's Third Thursday debut event, "Political Poster Print Action," since I first learned of it in early September. Typically on Thursday evenings I have a busy schedule, but I found myself growing more and more excited about the possibility of attending as October 16th approached. I cleared my calendar.
Screen-printing has always interested me. I enjoy politics. And, as I've previously mentioned, we all desire to create. Obviously, my expectations were high. Would they be dashed on this Third Thursday?
This was not my first visit to the Philbrook. I had taken advantage of one of their previous second Saturdays, the free admission day, to see the many attributes (artwork, historical significance of the building, gardens, etc.) that make the museum one of my favorite places in Tulsa.
So, as I paid my $7.50 admission, I had this feeling I was receiving a retroactive buy-one-get-one-free pass. The goal of the Third Thursday program, as laid out by Max Clark's UTW article on October 15th, is to educate. These new, interactive, entertaining evenings can serve as a basic introduction to the art world, the museum, or as additional information for the most avid art aficionado.
Or, you're welcome to scrap the educational goals of the program and simply look at it as a pleasurable experience. Let's face it -- only some of us really concern ourselves with learning.
The premier allowed for some cool poster and t-shirt (if you had the foresight to bring a shirt - I now have an awesome undershirt) making. I was not the only one to go through the mental self-berating of forgetting a shirt. All it took was that first t-shirt being screen printed with a donkey or elephant and everyone in attendance asked, "How could I have not thought of that?!"
Throughout the evening, I also learned how to operate 10 to 12 models of hair dryers, a necessity for drying ink on fresh posters. Later, I got my own hands dirty by screening my own posters; some of the best of the evening, I might add.
The evening included screen artists May Yang, Marwin Begaye, Robert Smith and Kelly Foshee. All had a wide array of political prints from which to choose. None were overly controversial outside of the sarcasm associated with drilling, baby. Controversy in politics attracts me; it's exciting. But the artists did a superb job appealing to all political affiliations in a light-hearted way.
I arrived promptly at 5pm, but started a little hesitantly. Do I want a "Drill Baby Drill" interfering with my "Unite or Die"? A poster that demands unity must be cohesive, right?
I eventually jumped right in. A squeegee in one hand and a 10-year-old hair dryer in the other.
The crowd was diverse. Obama fans, Palin patriots, that one undecided guy, the young and the old. We formed lines and determined our unique poster designs without arguing about the contents of our posters or the general election, an issue that may be harder to avoid dispute, as you read this.
While the satisfied sipped on their beers, purchased at the cash bar, and reviewed their work, I continued my screening. After several unique and botched screen prints, I began to get the hang of it. I was pumping out original, creative stuff. I checked my neighbors, but no one either seemed to be jealous or paying me much attention.
It seemed the only attendees as ardent as I about the poster action were two children. Several times I thought we might have to tangle over a hair dryer or a clothes pin to hang our finished products. I behaved.
Philbrook is on to something with these interactive, educational programs. I would return many times over for the "Political Poster Print Action." I'd bring along a nicer t-shirt. If I can continue to juggle my schedule for upcoming Thursdays, you'll see more of me.
The Third Thursday program continues on November 20th with Pixar animator Jay Shuster of Cars and WallE. The December 18th program will see a return to interactive art with local artists Live 4 This. And, January features Chip Kidd, graphic artist extraordinaire. For more information on all programs, including Third Thursdays, free second Saturday admission, and the free MyMuseum aimed at children visit www.philbrook.org.
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