Gallery Wars, a new sculpture competition, will be invading the art quad Tuesday Nov. 13 for its second installment.
The first competition was held in the Art building on Oct. 9.
“A competitive sculpture competition has been something I wanted to do since my undergrad at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago,” said Scotty Gorham, brainchild and head organizer of the competition. “My hope is that it becomes something the entire department can not only be proud of, but take ownership in.”
Gorham, a graduate student working toward a master's degree in spatial art, envisioned an event where participants could put their skills to the test while helping to cultivate a robust art community on campus.
"I'm a jock," he said. "I’ve played sports my whole life. Competition can be a good thing — not only to challenge yourself, but to appreciate your opponents."
Gorham wanted to bring the spirit of competition to art students at SJSU as a way to have fun and come together.
"The art world is filled with competition and Gallery Wars embraces that competition and puts it out there in a straightforward, yet playful, way that hopes to ultimately strengthen our community," he said.
For Alyssa Eustaquio, a fine arts graduate student, the opportunity to build relationships and raise awareness of the art culture at SJSU are the most rewarding aspects of being involved with the competition.
“I really believe community is what makes any program, and Gallery Wars is a great way to get everyone riled up for art,” Eustaquio said. “I think this is especially beneficial for a community of artists where a majority of our time is spent working independently. We yearn to collaborate and honestly, who needs an excuse to come together as a community?”
For the upcoming edition of Gallery Wars, Gorham will play host as six contestants, in three groups of two will have five hours to construct a work of art based on the theme of the competition.
However, the contestants will not find out who they are working with or what the theme is until Sunday evening.
“The fighters are picked and they’re anxious to battle,” Eustaquio said. “The challenge on the other hand, is a secret. Let’s just say that I am very excited.”
Besides being excited for the event itself, Biagio Scarpello, a contestant and spatial art graduate student, is hopeful that Gallery Wars will entice SJSU students to take a look at what’s going on in the Art building.
“Gallery Wars is significant because it makes art accessible to a wide range of audiences,” Scarpello said. “The enthusiasm generated by Gallery Wars brings attention to the gallery system in the art building, which is showcasing new, compelling work every week.”
The hope is that Gallery Wars will become a permanent and popular event at SJSU.
“I find it exciting to have steady documentation of Gallery Wars" Eustaquio said. "We do not see the upcoming battle as the last and it would be interesting to see how the event evolves from competition to competition.”
While this edition of Gallery Wars basically only has sculptors, Gorham said that next semester the format will be expanded to include artists from all disciplines.
In the first competition Gorham squared off against fellow spatial art graduate student Kat MacKinnon in a fort building contest.
With four hours to complete their forts, MacKinnon constructed a raised wooden fort with clay spitball capabilities and a trick-locking door, while Gorham built a concrete structure that weighed in at more than a ton.
After the forts were completed, the audience was asked to vote for the winner and MacKinnon came out victorious.
While MacKinnon played a crucial role with Gorham in bringing Gallery Wars to life, she will not be in this month’s competition because of a solo show she has that same night in the Art building in Gallery 5.
Nevertheless, Gorham is focused on building up Gallery Wars and showing the student body that art is entertaining.
“My goal with Gallery Wars is to show that sculpture is cool— that art is cool— and to remind myself and other artists to enjoy what we do because it rules,” Gorham said. “This event is bad ass and I hope to see everyone there.”