“Ray Gun,” an assemblage work by local artist Snick Farkas, has won “Best of Show” for the Humboldt Arts Council’s 25th annual “Junque Arte Competition and Exhibition,” on display through Nov. 25 at the Morris Graves Museum of Art, 636 F St. in Eureka.
The exhibit, sponsored by Linda Wise and Recology Humboldt County, features creative works made of 100% recycled materials. This year’s juror was Robert “Robot” Adams, local artist and director of the Kinetic Museum in Eureka.
“As a career recycler, repurposer and junque artist, I feel the purpose of our work is to create, inspire, educate and, most importantly, make something that will survive and stay out of the waste stream,” said Adams, who went into the show “looking for fun.”
He wasn’t disappointed.
“How art makes us feel should be as important, if not more so, than how it looks,” Adams said. “I didn’t want the most technical or most time-consuming pieces to get all the glory. With that in mind, I created a scoring metric where professionalism wasn’t a factor. I felt Snick’s ‘Ray Gun’ inspired play and creativity. It looked fun to create and it looks like it would be fun to own. I had to remind myself several times I probably shouldn’t play with it. For me, it has that nostalgic feeling of building a backyard fort, when imagination was more important than skill. Not to say that the ‘Ray Gun’ didn’t take a lot of skill.”
As in years past, this year’s entries are made from a wide array of materials — leather, wood, records, foam, computer parts, beach trash, secondhand jewelry, wire, shells, tree branches and much, much more.
“This is my 16th year for ‘Junque Arte.’ I remember it was one of the very first shows when I arrived here,” said Humboldt Arts Council Executive Director-Curator Jemima Harr. “I immediately fell in love (with it). … This is the community’s exhibition. This is not something that we’re gearing toward fine artists, this is something everyone can take part in. We’ve got children and people that don’t consider themselves artists per se, and here they are.”
She added: “I think one of the things that’s so interesting about (this exhibit) is the crazy things people find to incorporate into what they’re making. The interpretation of what is a reusable object is so wide and vast that it makes it so interesting.”
Youth, adult and group submissions are accepted in the show each year, with awards given for first, second and third place within each category, as well as a Best of Show award.
Sabine John is one of this year’s youngest “Junque Arte” creators. She received “second place-youth” honors for her mixed-media entry titled “Codfish Industrial Processor by Heartless Company.”
“I like the fact that youth are allowed to participate in this show, for you are never too young to make art,” she said. “My dad showed me some old junk that he had, and the idea popped into my head. I used some old saw blades, Styrofoam, a box and some dried thistles to create the (piece).”
The Morris Graves Museum of Art is open to the public noon to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults; $2 for seniors (age 65 and over), military veterans and students with ID; and free for children 17 and under, families with an EBT card and valid ID and museum members. Admission is free for everyone on the first Saturday of every month. For more information about the Humboldt Arts Council and Morris Graves Museum of Art, go to www.humboldtarts.org.