[KHTS] – A contest for CalArts students sponsored by Chiquita Canyon Landfill awarded $8,000 in scholarshipmoney Thursday night for students of the world-renowned Valencia art college.
The reception at California Institute of the Arts celebrated the work of student artists who created art comprised of materials the students found at a landfill.
“The Found Art Scholarship Program is designed to showcase the artistic creativity of CalArts undergraduate and graduate students,” according to a CalArts news release. “To be eligible for the competition, students had to transform objects found at the landfill into art, and guidelines state at least 80 percent of each piece must be comprised of materials collected at the landfill.”
The top prize went to a 15-minute, documentary-style film by Roksana Pirouzmand, 23, of Yazd, Iran, who used to cameras to capture the students’ art-gathering process, which coincided with an exact countdown to the Persian New Year. Her piece won the $4,000 grand prize.
The first-year CalArts student, who studied art in Iran before coming to CalArts, said film was just one of many media she enjoyed using to create art.
“It depends on the idea that I have or the project I have,” said Pirouzmand, discussing her choice for the contest. “Video is a medium for me, video doesn’t represent filming for me. It’s a tool for me and I can use it to express my ideas.”
Michael Demps’s piece “Time Lines” earned the $2,500 second prize, using wood, a window screen, iron gating, rope, electrical cord and other materials based on their surface and texture. His goal was to explore the way people perceive time, he said.
“My art focuses on perception,” said Demps, a Detroit native and former musician who said he would like to return to his hometown and support underfunded arts education programs there. “I was really interested in seeing how I could accentuate the passage of time through actions.”
Jessica Smith garnered the $1,300 third-place prize for her piece “Screen,” implementing wooden stakes and a plastic drop cloth to silk screen a a pattern she created, which was inspired by an image of landfill-owned land. The fourth-place, $500-prize winner, Blaine Nelson, created “Go Bang,” a piece he created from shotgun shells.
The works were judged by a panel consisting of representatives from CalArts and the local arts community.
The idea was to help students, support a community partnership and an interest in found art, said Mike Dean, a vice president of waste management connections for Chiquita Canyon Landfill and the general manager for the Castaic facility.
Dean was credited with coming up with the idea for the art contest that has given away more than $20,000 in scholarship money in its three-year history.
“I just always liked people who made stuff out of junk,” he said, adding he enjoys “found art” sculptures and other pieces.
“This is a great arts community, these students going to college can use the money, and it’s fun,” he said.
“This competition really stemmed from a conversation that Mike Dean and John Musella and I were having literally over a glass of wine at the Valencia Wine Co.,” said Dave Bossert, a CalArts graduate and Board of Trustees member who spoke at Thursday’s reception.
“It was Mike’s idea,” he said, “and we said, ‘Let’s put this together.’”