Each project we do is unique in some way. This one pushed the Masterworks series in a new direction. Most of the pieces in this series were done in the studio, where we had total control over everything, from space to lighting. We could take our time getting it exactly the way we wanted. The Swing offered a new challenge. We wanted it to be something to be experienced live, in its 3D form, as well as being complete enough to join the series we already have in print. Only one other piece in the series was completed with a similar goal. That was The Breath of Venus. The 3D version of Venus was designed to be seen in a gallery, and did ultimately make it to print, making it larger than all of the previous Masterworks interpretations, however we painted the backdrop with, well, paint. The Swing was done entirely with balloons. It wasn’t just the featured pieces that we created with balloons, but the backdrop as well. This is easily the largest and most complex of the Airigami Masterworks creations to date.
Time lapse videos have become a key part of our installations for those unable to watch the construction live. For that reason, we put a lot of thought into how best to present these videos. Back in the 18th century, when Fragonard painted The Swing, the subject matter was considered quite scandalous. In looking for music to accompany the time lapse video, we decided to pair it with something of the same period that was considered equally risqué. We settled on Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte, an opera with subject matter that was also so unspeakable it saw few performances in it’s day. We’ll leave the details of both artistic works for our readers to look up on their own.
Five days of building and over 6600 balloons went into this work with quite a bit of help. There are many people we want to thank. First on the list is Ed Phillips, Executive Director of the Phelps Arts Center, for inviting us and working with us to make this piece a reality. The Center is an incredible place that we fell in love with the first time we walked in, and it’s leader is an equally impressive guy that made everything about this project so enjoyable. It was his desire to see the project happen that made everything else come together, from finding funding to providing us with a blank canvas on which to work.
A few others deserve special note. Walter Crum, a local balloon artist and good friend that has helped on many projects over the years was a workhorse, putting in many hours each day of the build. Lisa McIntire, another local balloon artist, showed up at the end of the week during crunch time and assisted with key details to help finish the work. Judy Phillips, Board Treasurer, and Christine Laird, Board President, learned quickly, helping quite a bit more with the construction than I think either of them originally intended. (We try to make our builds fun. Once they started, they were hooked!) Both did countless other jobs as well.
Don’t forget, you can still see the installation at the Phelps Arts Center until Aug 17. Come on Aug 17 to help pop the sculpture and win prizes hidden inside the balloons. Learn more at phelpsartscenter.com.
Thanks to the following groups and individuals
Amy Weissand, Bette Collier, Judi Cermak, Christine Laird, Dianne Eagle, Ed Phillips, Elaine Neuhierl, Floyd Ridley, Isabel Trudeau, Jackson Laird, Joanne Campbell, Jon Phillips, Judy Phillips, Kathryn Emerson, David McIntire, Lisa McIntire, Marion Donnelly, Melissa Emerson, Nathan Laird, Neil Laird, Olivia Donnelly, Rae Laird, Rebecca Polmanteer, Sandi Munson, Sandy Garland-Standing, Susan Rouland, Tom Garland-Standing, Tsali Garland-Standing, Vicki Emerson, Walela Garland-Standing, Walter Crum
Farnsworth Chevrolet, Canandaigua, NY
Community Bank NA, Phelps, NY
Exxon Mobil, Irving, TX
Vision Hyundai, Canandaigua, NY
Canandaigua National Bank & Trust, Canandaigua, NY
Phelps Chamber of Commerce, Phelps NY
Dianne Murphy, Canandaigua, NY
Mary Donner, Clifton Springs, NY
Thrya Waite, Farmington, NY
Alice Salisbury, Seneca Falls, NY
Floyd Ridley, Phelps, NY
Robert Spink, Phelps, NY
Chip Stevens, Pultneyville, NY
Marta Stevermen, Rushville, NY
Loren Gifford, Rushville, NY
Wayne Williams & Marlene Williams, Newark, NY
Collette Barnard, Clifton Springs, NY
James & Belinda Zauzig, Huntington, PA
Dennis Mahoney, Geneva, NY
Bill & Melinda Agnew, Mechanicsburg, PA
Tim Lamphere, Phelps, NY
Laird Family, Phelps, NY
Don Ulmer, Phelps, NY
Robert Albrecht, Phelps, NY
Carmen Orlando, Phelps, NY
Lee Guadagno, Phelps, NY
Lois & Cliff Steitler, Lyons, NY
Larry Casey, Phelps, NY
Denise Van Deroef, Naples, NY
Carmen Orland, Phelps, NY
Dave & Deb Lord, Phelps, NY
Mary Hicks Preston Foundation, Phelps, NY