“All art is self-promotion.”
Overheard yesterday at Frost Park, while I was touching up my purple-coated alien pirate, the quote was a perfect summary of how things went down at 2010’s twelfth chalk-off.
Self-promotion has always been a staple of Frost Park artwork, from websites written next to drawings and my ever-present alien avatar to more blatant examples like James Stowe’s ad for Comic Book Ink and Mark Monlux selling his books right off the sidewalk.
This week, however, it permeated the park even more than usual. From the chalk art itself to the voting, every element reeked of some form of propaganda.
My roommates, Stuart and Kendra, were out promoting Treefish Studio. Stuart wore the Treefish logo on his shirt, and Kendra incorporated Treefish into her drawing. I overheard Kendra talking about the studio to other chalk-off attendees, and she later wrote about the event on one of Treefish Studio’s two blogs.
Also in attendance were Isaac Olsen and his friend Dani, promoting Quiet Shoes, an independent film Olsen has been working on since 2006. Their chalk art was an eye-catching advertisement for the noir comedy, including footprints leading up the park toward the Rialto Theatre, where Quiet Shoes will be holding its world premiere tonight at 7:00 PM.
Olsen wasn’t the only one promoting an event; Mark Monlux’s entry this week was aimed to draw people to the upcoming 100th Monkey event, which this month is being invaded by the Cartoonist’s League of Absurd Washingtonians (C.L.A.W.). The 100th Monkey is a periodic event in which Tacoma-based artists get together to mingle, network and share their respective arts and interests. “Monkey tiles” – monkey-themed artwork that, despite the title, isn’t always tiles – are sold for $4 each. Every tile purchase puts the buyer’s name in a raffle, out of which is selected the official “100th Monkey”, who is then responsible to assist the event organizer in putting together the next 100th Monkey event.
Ordinarily, 100th Monkey Events tend to conflict with C.L.A.W.’s monthly “open swims”, in which they allow the public to attend their proceedings. This time, however, local cartoonist R.R. Anderson – a founding member of C.L.A.W. – was selected as the 100th Monkey. As a result, Anderson has rallied the League together to assist him in monkeying with Tacoma’s collected artists. All of the monkey tiles for the latest 100th Monkey event have been created by League members, and the event will serve jointly as this month’s C.L.A.W. open swim. The June 2010 100th Monkey event will occur on Wednesday, June 23rd, from 7:30 to 9:30 PM at The Stonegate (5421 S Tacoma Way).
Even the sponsorship – which is ordinarily promotional anyway – had a little extra propaganda element to it this week. Artists were invited to bring resumes and work samples to submit to the sponsor, Northwest Territories Mint, adding self-promotion of a job-seeking variety to the chalk-off. The Jinxmedic – also known as C.L.A.W. member Michael Shaudis – served as a representative for Northwest Territories Mint, accepting resumes and drawing a piece promoting his employer.
The promotions didn’t end with the conclusion of the hour-long competition. As usual, the post-chalking race to get the most votes by Midnight raged on, but this week’s tantalizing prize – ten Spanish gold doubloon replicas and a Mayan calendar medallion – put more pressure than usual on the competitors.
For myself, I put the word out every way I could – urging my Twitter and Facebook followers to flood the voting thread on my behalf. I even uploaded a video to my YouTube channel promising to make a pirate-themed video using the doubloons as props if I won.
The strategy worked. My repeated self-promotion – vying for votes on a piece that was, itself, a form of self-propaganda – resulted in a final tally of 17 votes (out of 45 total) for Captain Adam the Alien. A nice lead over the 10 votes for the second-place winner, Debivans.
I look forward to recieving my booty, and now my viewers can look forward to a pirate-themed video I’m already beginning to concoct. Given that my girlfriend, Shannancy, has demanded to be a part of it, I imagine it will at the least be a very pretty thing to watch.