CMC art professor finds sudden success after Arkansas art show
Steamboat Springs — A Colorado Mountain College art professor is seeing sudden success in the professional art world following the display of his artwork in an Arkansas exhibit last year.
Joel S. Allen was one of 101 artists selected by a traveling museum curatorial duo last summer to display his art in an exhibit called “State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now” in the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.
The show aimed to promote little-known American artists who might otherwise go undiscovered and gave valuable exposure to “Hooked on Svelte,” Allen’s hanging installation that uses twine and yarn, pill bottles, wine corks and other random materials to create methodically designed sculptures.
The art director of the Coachella Music Festival was impressed with Allen’s work, and purchased eight of his sculptures for permanent installation in the downtown Los Angeles offices of Goldenvoice and Coachella.
Crystal Bridges also thought Allen’s work would do well on an international tour with several other “State of the Art” pieces, and the museum purchased six of the sculptures for that.
“I’m having a hard time keeping up,” said Allen, who has been hard at work creating enough of the art pieces to go around, while also teaching Art in the Environment and a 3-D design class at CMC.
Each of the sculptures takes about two weeks to create and includes about two miles of fiber.
The Coachella art director connected Allen with another opportunity, which led to the display of his work at Art Prize 2015, a competitive exhibit on display now in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
That opportunity then led to Allen being invited to show his work in another exhibit — “Suspended,” at the Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts in Kalamazoo, Michigan — in December.
“I haven’t really had a chance to stop and think about it,” said Allen, when asked about his sudden success. “It’s surprising. You’re making stuff in your garage for years, and all of a sudden, people start to notice.”
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