Sunday with Zin: Pecha Kucha

Hello I am Zin and welcome to the October 2012 Pecha Kucha Night in Portland Maine!

Pecha Kucha (pronounced “pa-CHOK-cha” and meaning “chit-chat” in Japanese) is like a flash art exhibit! Except sometimes it is about more than art! There have been 2,226 stories told so far since 2003 worldwide, probably one near you! It was started as a design thing in Tokyo, and grew from there!

Each presenter shows 20 slides for 20 seconds each! That is six minutes and forty seconds to display and narrate 20 slides of whatever you have! Paintings, sculpture, projects, sketches, ideas, dance, poetry! Anything that can handle narrated slide format! And no introduction – the emcee takes care of that! It is amazing how much ground you can cover in that time!

I learned about Pecha Kucha at the Sidewalk Art Festival this past summer via Dana Trattner, who showed the art she painted over the years through several eye surgeries! I made a note to go to the next one, and it was last month at the wonderful SPACE Gallery!

My favorite was Lindsay Stockbridge, a sculptor and recent MECA graduate who was inspired by her walk of the Appalachian Trail! Before she left she made some sculptures of beached whales, because that is how she felt! When she saw the trees she imagined them as the legs of giant moose, so she made a bunch of moose! Some of them she bronzed! Then she made a 4×4 house in the sand that washed away with the tide leaving only the frame! And because, she says, we always look for a face or figure in inanimate objects – like the man in the moon, or even the moose! – she sculpted a conch shell with a hand coming out of it – this was I think my favorite thing I saw all night!

Moose Sculpture by Lindsay Stockbridge

Moose Sculpture by Lindsay Stockbridge

Activist and USM Art Teacher Jan Piribeck described her work on the Good Fences for Good Neighbors project! Since there are a bunch of ugly chain link fences in the Bayside area, a group of artists got together and created art from them! They used only recycled materials, things that would have been thrown away. One of the most available materials was Blue Wrap, the stuff medical facilities use to wrap up sterilized items! It is not reusable once it is removed from the medical instrument, but it is not soiled or damaged in any way, it is just not sterile any more, so people are looking for ways to re-use it, and these artists came up with this one! One of the fences cast a shadow of faces on the ground when the sun was at a certain angle, it was amazing! And the Blue Wave fence just blew in the breeze like a real wave!

One of the goofy things at Pecha Kucha was the Flashlight Sponsors! Do you think this is worth $25 to a local business: “Your logo slapped on an 11×17″ billboard and personally marched across the stage for all to see. As your logo makes its way across, the emcee will say a few kind words about your business while it gets beamed at by a 1,000,000 candlepower flashlight.” It was really cool! It was like something out of Vaudeville!

Dave Weinberg is a graphic designer and illustrator with a hobby: collecting captioned cell phone pics for his Cellphone Sketchpad blog! Some are funny, some are pretty! Anyone can submit! With or without the headline and caption!

Kevin Tacka is a Portland artist who also makes fountains for each First Friday celebration! He considers it a success if it works without losing water for 3 hours! He makes these videos of them on YouTube! My favorite is Who Let the Kitty Out of the Bag for his Cat-Topped Fountain from 2010! I am amazed at how creative he is with fountains! Water falling from the sky, the Pyrex, the Wedgewood, the Campfire Cowboy, water shooting through the sky over his sketchbooks onto an old canvas – I never realized fountains could be so much fun!

Marty Pottenger talked about one of her many projects, Art at Work, particularly the City Writers Group that gives police officers, fire fighters, engineers, accountants, parking lot managers, anyone who works for the City of Portland, to meet, write, and react to work-related prompts like First Day, or Mentors.

Not everything was about art! John Ossie told us how a bow saved his life! As in bow and arrow! He had been getting worse and worse with degenerative disk disease in his back and neck, in more and more pain, on so many medications, but he was dragged to a yard sale by his wife and he found a bow and started working with it and it did great things for exactly the right muscles and he is much better now! He even went camping! And oh by the way he is a skilled archer, he shot an arrow that split right into the one already in the target! That is very hard to do! So the bow he found by accident was a real gift! And Brody Wood read her poetry while a dancer performed and the slides were cast on them, it was very interesting!

All of the presentations had something to say and were unique and interesting! Portland has an event about once a quarter and I bet there is a Pecha Kucha night near you! If you have been to one, or if you go to one in the future, tell me about it!

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