Saturday, August 7, 2010
BZTAT’s Downtown Cats
Canton’s Arts District has another new public art project added to its ever growing litany of creative wall coverings. Only in the last 6 months or so I have paid much attention to what is on the buildings besides signage and architectural details. Perhaps it is because some of the projects are not on the main drag and others are starting to deteriorate from weather conditions or lack of proper materials in their construction. Some of the installations are not to my liking and others fall into a different perspective, but I got to thinking about what is my role in the public part of public art? And for that matter, what is the public’s role in public art and do they know they are participating in it? Alas, I am far too devoid of energy after three weeks of very little sleep and much physical demand on my soon to be 50 year old physic so mental gymnastics to answer my own questions is out of the question right now. I am going to take the easy road and point out the obvious. When an artist is commissioned to do a public piece, you should expect to get “that” artist and their voice, vision or style. Perhaps a newbie to the art scene may stretch their style a bit to get that public commission job on the resume, but established and successful artists don’t have to go that route. BZTAT and cats are a synonymous and symbiotic relationship so when BZ (shortened from now on because I can’t keep hitting the TAT without messing up and backspacing) does a mural, you are gonna get cats. Don’t like cats? Then go apply for your own commission and do what you want to do, there are plenty of bare brick walls out there for everybody.
BZ is a self taught marketing and social networking genius. She knows her stuff, she knows her media and she knows how to make art work for the good of our society and for just good old fashioned making people feel good. Now this is where all you detractors jump right in with your under the breath comments about how it is not “art” and how it is too “commercial” and so forth, I have heard it along with many others. Funny how Britto and the that Blue Dog dude have gone commercial and are happily sipping mai tais at their tropical vacation homes so more power to those with the magic of marketing.
Okay, back to the Cats. No need to go into the specific details of the installation (size 4 x 8 feet), number of panels (4), names of cats and so forth, all of that has been in our local paper and can be found on her website and others. What I wish to call to your attention is the appropriateness of the installation for the location and the imagery itself. But in a slightly different perspective, allow me to turn over my keyboard to Ringo and Sadie (Tator’s), my two resident feline fans, and let them take over while I go take a much needed nap.
Ringo here, I don’t like people much, they scare me, so I don’t go outside but I did get to see a picture of the Downtown Cats on the computer (my only source of mouse action too). Big and colorful and graphically simple, these panels will appeal to the GP of all ages. Because the cats look back at us viewers, we can feel engaged with the piece. No deep thought processes required, which is good because my brain is the size of a walnut, but I think sometimes art should be about the very basics of line, shape, color, texture and space, the 5 building blocks I hear about all the time (other than get your tail out of my pallet!...and she is not nice about that one). I think art should make people stop and look at it, not like “what the heck is that piece of junk?” , but as in “that’s pretty, I like it, I wonder what else is around here?”. I suppose jk would not mind if I went into a dissertation about the historical nature of public murals and their social function, but I am polydactyl so typing is not fun. Pretty cool being a cat with thumbs however!
Tator’s take now….mind you I am rather grumpy from having been awoken from my nap. It is not easy to be lazy enough to gain 20 pounds so I have to work at it. I like the cats. They are all a bit skinny for my taste, but being an “it”, I don’t have any attraction to anything so who cares. The colors interest me most because they are not just flat. Most people miss that aspect of BZ’s work. Her colors are multi layered and planned out with thought to one showing through another and giving a glow to the edges of each color field which makes the images have depth and richness. Kudos to Cats getting their rightful place in a town that seems obsessed with dogs. Of course I could take out any of those little pooches with one sudden drop of my big fat furry behind. Enough said, I need another cat nap.
Congrats on your public piece BZ and may it draw much attention to your cause of animal rights and rescue.