By RILEY SPELLMAN
The latest exhibit featured in the Brush Art Gallery is for the birds!
Elemental Birds, is a work in progress exhibition that asks artists to create birds that express good will and happiness in order to combat the usual theme of the satirized “depressed artist.” This exhibit’s originators, Inga Hamilton and Andy Hamilton, call this strive towards happier art “feeding the elemental.” This is based both on ancient beliefs and the fact that the Hamiltons like working with birds in their art. Also, the exhibition is designed to feature numerous artists’ unique interpretations of the single bird theme and continue to spread happiness and positive elementals by either selling the bird art for special prices—like the buyer ‘giving flowers for a stranger’ in exchange for a bird—or by inspiring other artists to create birds that let them express their positive elementals.
Some of the birds have more specific themes than just good will. One artist focused on charity for the homeless through the expression of pigeons; each pigeon bought supports homeless people. However, most artists are simply a part of the exhibition because it gives them the freedom to be creative without having to justify their work. Inga Hamilton compared this need to justify your work to selling your soul, or your body. “It’s like prostitution,” Hamilton said at her Artist Lecture.
Furthermore, this project inspired artists to work outside of their usual creative fields. Sculptors were painting. Cartoonists were building birds out of glass, wood, and clay. Each bird, the Hamiltons repeated, tells its own story and together, the birds’ tales could make a book. All the birds were based on 4 initial bird templates designed by the Hamiltons.
Inga and Andy Hamilton are both artists from Ireland and specialize in ethereal decorative arts and urban artwork respectively. Inga has garnered some fame through her unique art; Andy has been “getting his hands dirty” with printmaking lately. The two began the art group “Firsty” in their small hometown where they meet with other artists to drink, talk about art, and plan shows at the local pub. “In our town, the only two places open at night are the church and the pub, and we’re not really church people,” Inga joked. The group has grown to a substantial size, courtesy of dedicated artists of all genres (over 220 members). They can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Hamiltons’ Artists’ Lecture was on Wednesday, October 26th in Griffiths 123, but both of them will be the artists-in-residence at the Brush Art Gallery through November 11th on weekdays from 10am to 5pm and on Saturday, November 5th from 1-4pm. The “Elemental Birds” exhibit should be up soon in the Gallery. Check it out, before the exhibition flies away (they’re headed to Northern Ireland next, and then New Zealand)!