Outside the white box and into the breathing visual arts: A sit down with Adam Frelin

February 28, 2017

As we reach towards our ninth year of operation, The Santo Foundation begins to look back and reflect, reacquainting and introducing some of our incredible past recipients of the Individual Artist Awards on a more personal level and giving you a glimpse into their working and creating life.

We start this project with an interview with 2016 Individual Artist Award winner Adam Frelin, whose studio life, work, exhibition experience and creative vision illustrate how diverse, transformative and immersive art is, inside and outside the white box.

For Frelin in his studio, which he finds almost always ends up as himself at a desk and a computer, his practice is less driven by materials or technique and instead is more about an effect or an outcome.

His award winning work, “Breathing Lights,” gently and with immersive diligence illuminated the street-facing windows of hundreds of abandoned buildings in Albany, Schenectady and Troy, NY. A collaboration with architect Barbara Nelson, Breathing Lights was truly a community civic art installation, bringing together local fabricators, students, engineers, artists and product developers to design and install custom lighting instruments consisting of miniature LED strip lights bound in adhesive fabric, affixed to interior window frames. The lights shone through windows covered in diffusion material, powered and controlled by batteries and rheostats.

Concentrated in high vacancy, economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, these installations transformed “vacant structures from pockets of shadows into places of warmth.” Warm light filled each window with a dispersing glow that flows through the tender pulses that mimic human breathing into a gentle exhale of the light into the next street-facing windows in the series of buildings on a block.

You can still view Breathing Lights in the formalized video production that provides a soothing, almost meditative experience with instrumental tones. To experience Breathing Lights in its most beautiful essence, is to watch however, now, clips, of the truly public art interactions with the installation, in which Breathing Lights “lives” with and within the neighborhoods alongside people; with pedestrians and the voices and laughter of children playing in the background, as another living organism within the community, in the most captivating and conscientious way.

Adam Frelin: A Brief Conversation:

Artist Inspirations: Christo & Jean Claude and Maya Lin

The Santo Foundation Individual Artist Award means: My work is set up in conversation or often referenced as being the exception, but in reality, when you think about it, galleries are the exception. I mean, in regard to the space and what you do – you install your work on an empty wall and a month later it comes down.

This type of opportunity drives competition, and I think that’s great. Its not just for artists who do the typical studio work in a traditional sense.

This opportunity is not only the financial award, but validation of your work, that it is being viewed and experienced alongside visual artists in traditional and non-traditional mediums and materials. It is validation that your work is reaching people and that it has an effect.

What’s next? I am currently working on two commission projects, but am also going back to China and back to India.

Although I am an atheist, I am inspired by the rituals and habits of people of faith or for religious purposes. In Rajasthan, India, there is an incredible temple dedicated to rats, because they are held  as having divine properties. And it is not just like there is a giant rat statue or something, it is that at this sacred space, the people go to this space everyday to feed the rats. The temple area is filled with rats.

What’s the dream project for you? This past project (Breathing Lights) might very well be the pinnacle of my artistic career. 

I have had this plan for a series of lighthouses, beacons of light in empty spaces and then as well in the woods. It would be found as someone is walking down a path or through a wooded area, and then the would come across this lighthouse in the middle of the woods.

If I wasn’t an artist: There are these GE think tank divisions where a product is created and they have professionals analyze all of the innovative opportunities and possibilities for all potential uses for the product for patent purposes. That would be an interesting and inspiring path to take.

Also, I have always been inspired by and originally wanted to pursue landscape architecture. So, I guess I would probably start a landscaping business if I get fired from my teaching job and my art career goes up in smoke!

Advice to budding artists:

  • Pay attention to and really focus on working what you are really interested in doing and what you keep going back to. If your professor you look up to likes pouring metal, that’s what he or she likes. Pay attention to what you find your mind wanting to go back to.
  • Don’t worry so much about the gallery scene. Maybe this is more so in New York and LA, but I have friends who have spent years trying to get into the “right galleries” for them and their career.

    If your work is great and stands out, its going to work. Don’t limit yourself to those spaces though. In a way, even though they [galleries] are the traditional way of exhibiting your work or having it seen, they are the exception. They are the fabricated, exceptional spaces. They don’t meet people in life. Don’t be afraid to look beyond that.

2016 Individual Artitsts Awards Announced

December 30, 2016

The Jury process for The Santo Foundation 2016 Individual Artist Awards is now complete. This year’s Distinguished Juror, Lisa Melandri, Executive Director of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, carefully reviewed all artists’ work to insure each candidate received her full attention.

The international call for entry yielded highly diversified candidates from 33 states of the United States and nearly 40 different countries. We extend our deep gratitude to Ms. Melandri for her expertise, diligence, and serious consideration of all of our candidates.

Three artists were selected to receive the top honors and $5,000 each, and five artists were selected to each receive $1,000. All awards are to be used at the artist’s discretion. On behalf of the Board of Directors and the Advisory Committee, we wish to congratulate:

$5,000 Award Recipients
Jill Downen – http://www.jilldownen.com
Sarah Rara – http://www.sarahrara.com
Leonard Suryajaya – http://www.leonardsuryajaya.com

$1,000 Award Recipients
Firat Erdim – http://firaterdim.net
Jona Frank – http://jonafrank.com
Adam Frelin – http://www.adamfrelin.com
Tamara Johnson – http://www.tamarajohnsonstudio.com
Ezra Masch – http://ezramasch.com

We extend our sincere gratitude to every candidate for your time, talent, passion and effort and hope that, in the future, The Santo Foundation will be of assistance to you.

THE SANTO FOUNDATION INDIVIDUAL ARTIST AWARDS 2016 – DEADLINE EXTENDED

October 28, 2016

Deadline for the 2016 Individual Artists Awards has been extended to NOVEMBER 7, 2016.

Artists may submit online only through Call for Entry.org (CaFÉ). Please submit (minimum and maximum) 6 jpegs of original work and a current resume. No artist statements. All mediums of visual art are eligible including audio, video and performance. Limit video segments to 3 minutes. Please do not submit other materials. There is a nominal application fee of $40.00 US. Call for Entry dates: August 25, 2016 through November 7, 2016.

Selected Artists will be announced in December 2016. Please note if you have questions regarding technical aspects of callforentry.org please contact their help desk. Please do not contact the juror. If you have questions that do not involve call-for-entry technical issues contact information can be found on the Santo Foundation website.

THE SANTO FOUNDATION INDIVIDUAL ARTIST AWARDS 2016

August 30, 2016

Call For Entry:

$20,000.00 Awarded to Visual Artists:  Three artists will be selected to each receive $5000.00. Five additional awards of $1000.00 each will also be awarded.
DEADLINE: October 31, 2016

The Santo Foundation is pleased to announce Lisa Melandri as Distinguished Juror for the 2016 Individual Artist Awards. Lisa Melandri is Executive Director of The Contemporary Art Museum Saint Louis, www.camstl.org.

Funds are to be used at the artist’s discretion with no follow up material required. Graduate School candidates are eligible as well as emerging, mid-career and mature artists. All mediums are welcome. This is an International call and all artists are welcome to apply regardless of country, state or residency status. Artists may submit online only through Call for Entry.org (CaFÉ). Please submit (minimum and maximum) 6 jpegs of original work and a current resume. No artist statements. All mediums of visual art are eligible including audio, video and performance. Limit video segments to 3 minutes. Please do not submit other materials. There is a nominal application fee of $40.00 US. Call for Entry dates: August 25, 2016 through October 31st 2016.
Selected Artists will be announced in December 2016. Please note if you have questions regarding technical aspects of callforentry.org please contact their help desk. Please do not contact the juror. If you have questions that do not involve call-for-entry technical issues contact information can be found on the Santo Foundation website.

 

2015 Individual Artist Awards Winners

August 30, 2016

The Santo Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of our 2015 Individual Artist Awards. We send our sincere gratitude and respect to each artist who took the time and energy to apply for our 7th Anniversary Call for Entry. After diligent review of every portfolio submission by Distinguished Juror Xandra Eden, the following exceptional artists have been selected; Three to receive the top honors and $5,000 each, and five artists selected to each receive $1,000. All awards are to be used at the artist’s discretion.

$5,000 Award Winners
Li Ma
Olaniyi Akindiya
Noelle Mason

$1,000 Award Winners
Shanti Grumbine
Charisse Weston
Natalie Ball
Alex Tremino
Linn Meyers

2015 Call For Entry Deadline Extended

October 27, 2015

The 2015 Call For Entry Deadline has been extended to November 12th, 2015. Entries are accepted only online through Call for Entry.org. Please submit 6 jpegs of original work and a current resume. All mediums of visual art are eligible including video and performance. Video limited to 3 minutes. Please do not submit other materials. There is a nominal application fee of $40.00 US.

Selected Artists will still be announced in December 2015.

2015 CALL FOR ENTRY – $20,000 Awarded to Visual Artists

August 7, 2015

The Santo Foundation is pleased to announce Xandra Eden as Distinguished Juror for the 2015 Individual Artist Awards. Xandra Eden is Executive Director & Chief Curator of DiverseWorks, Houston, TX.

Ms. Eden has contributed essays and reviews to many catalogues and publications, presented at symposia and panel discussions nationwide, and served on the Public Art Advisory Panel for the Greensboro Downtown Greenway Development Project.

Three artists will be selected to each receive $5000. Five additional awards of $1000. each will also be awarded. Funds are to be used at the artist’s discretion with no follow up material required. Graduate School candidates are eligible as well as emerging, mid-career and mature artists. This is an International call and all artists are welcome to apply regardless of country, state, or residency status.

Artists may submit online only through Call for Entry.org (CaFÉ). Please submit 6 jpegs of original work and a current resume. All mediums of visual art are eligible including video and performance.  Video limited to 3 minutes. Please do not submit other materials. There is a nominal application fee of $40.00 US.

Call for Entry dates:  August 10th 2015 through October 31st 2015.

Selected Artists will be announced in December 2015.

Please note if you have questions regarding technical aspects of callforentry.org please contact their help desk. Please do not contact the juror Ms. Eden. If you have questions that do not involve call-for-entry technical issues contact information can be found on the Santo Foundation website.

2014 Call for Entry Artist Awards

December 10, 2014

THE SANTO FOUNDATION INDIVIDUAL ARTIST AWARDS 2014

The Santo Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of our 2014 Individual Artist Awards. We send our sincere gratitude for every artist who took the time and energy to apply to our 6th Anniversary International Call for Entry. After diligently reviewing every portfolio, three artists will receive the top honors and $5,000 each to be used at their discretion, and 5 artists will receive $1,000 each.

$5,000 Award Winners
Shimon Attie, New York NY
Paco Cao, Bronx, NY
Beauvais Lyons, Knoxville TN

$1,000 Award Winners
Kara Rooney, Brooklyn NY
Greg Sholette, New York NY
Mary Lou Zelazny, Chicago, IL
Mathew Arnold, New York, NY
Trevor Amery, San Diego, CA

2014 Call For Entry – $20,000.00 Awarded to Visual Artists

August 15, 2014

THE SANTO FOUNDATION INDIVIDUAL ARTIST AWARDS 2014

The Santo Foundation is pleased to announce Pablo Helguera as Distinguished Juror for the 2014 Individual Artist Awards. Mr. Helguera, is a New York based artist working with installation, sculpture, photography, drawing, socially engaged art and performance.  Helguera is currently the Director of Adult and Academic programs at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Please visit http://pablohelguera.net for the complete resume of Pablo Helguera.

Three artists will be selected to each receive $5000.  Five additional awards of $1000. each will also be awarded.  Funds are to be used at the artist’s discretion with no follow up material required.  Graduate School candidates are eligible as well as emerging, mid-career and mature artists. This is an International call and all artists are welcome to apply regardless of country, state, or residency status.

Artists may submit online only through Call for Entry.org (CaFÉ). Please submit 6 jpegs of original work and a current resume. All mediums of visual art are eligible including video and performance.  Video limited to 3 minutes. Please do not submit other materials. There is a nominal application fee of $40.00 US.

Call for Entry dates:  August 15th 2014 through October 31st 2014.

Selected Artists will be announced in early December 2014.

2014 Call For Entry Distinguished Juror

August 15, 2014

The Santo Foundation is honored to announce Pablo Helguera as the Distinguished Juror for the 2014 Santo Foundation Individual Artist Awards. Director of Adult and Academic Programs at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Mr. Helguera is a highly accomplished artist, publisher, author, curator and educator. His significant experience brings unprecedented insight to our programs and a valuable opportunity to our candidates.

Pablo Helguera (Mexico City, 1971) is a New York based artist working with installation, sculpture, photography, drawing, socially engaged art and performance.  Helguera is currently the Director of Adult and Academic programs at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.  He has worked since 1991 in a variety of contemporary art museums, most recently as head of public programs at the Education department of the Guggenheim Museum in New York (1998-2005). He has organized close to 1000 public events in conjunction with nearly 100 exhibitions. In 2010 he was appointed pedagogical curator of the 8th Mercosul Biennial in Porto Alegre, Brazil, September 2011. He is he author of Education for Socially Engaged Art (2011), Art Scenes: The Social Scripts of the Art World (2012), Theatrum Anatomicum (and other Performance Lectures) (2009) and many other books.  He was the winner of the First International Prize of Participatory Art in Bologna and has received the Guggenheim, Creative Capital, Franklin Furnace, Art Matters and other awards.

Please visit http://pablohelguera.net for a complete resume of Pablo Helguera’s work.

Helguera