Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Fantastic Sky Race

We've done so much art viewing in the last few days that it is going to take more than one blog post to catch up with it all!  But let's start with the most monumental piece of them all -- a 60-foot-by-21-foot piece entitled The Fantastic Sky Race.

The Fantastic Sky Race is actually 15 separate 21-foot-long banners that are adorning the sides of a concrete parking deck in downtown Raleigh (at Davie, McDowell, and Cabarrus streets, for you locals).

It was created by three young artists from the Design Program at NC State University, who won a contest run by the University and Empire Properties (the owners of the parking deck) to find a more attractive facade to the structure than the plain concrete it had for two years (originally, it was to abut other buildings so that it wouldn't be seen, but the other building plans were put on hold due to the poor economic conditions).

Here are the three artists, who have named themselves The Balloon Boys, and who had to devote tremendous hours to completing this work on top of their normal course load and part-time jobs:

In the banner, all sorts of man-made contraptions and fantastical animals are flying through the skies above varied environments, from coastal or aquatic settings through arboreal climates, over icy tundras and warm-colored deserts.   However, also hidden amongst the drawing are at least a dozen references to the Triangle area and/or North Carolina.  For example, see if you can spot the distinctive Raleigh landmark in the details of this picture (you can click on the picture to enlarge it):

To get a better idea of the piece, watch this movie about the project from NCSU:

Wake County students will be hearing lots more about this project, because the County Library system is going to be doing programming around this imaginative theme for the next two years.  Look for announcements about art and poetry contests and presentations by the artists, which should be coming soon from our local libraries!

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