Streetbox I: Collaboration with artist Tony Ellis for ArtPrize
We’ve written about ArtPrize in the past (see here) from a viewer’s perspective but this year we’re incredibly excited to contribute to the ArtPrize environment. When Tony Ellis approached us to collaborate with his entry “Finding Beauty: Grand Rapids” by creating a custom rug we happily agreed to the opportunity. Tony was paired with Scott Group designer, Diane to translate a photograph that he captured from a UPS drop box on Monroe Center Street NW last winter into one stunning carpet.
“I was inspired by Tony’s ability to focus in on a small detail and expose it for its vibrant beauty and abstract composition,” says Scott Group designer, Diane. “As a textile, his work becomes sculpture in multiple tuft directions and pile heights.”
the 18″x18″ sample of Streetbox
Once Tony approved the sample of Diane’s translation they were off to the races. A minimum of 20 Scott Group employees were assigned to this 8 foot by 10 foot rug at one phase or another during production each playing their part in crafting the rug with care and precision.
When the rug was done it was wrapped up and shipped the short journey to downtown Grand Rapids where Tony, Diane, and a small crew were eager and ready for installation on the 5th floor of the UICA.
The Urban Institute for Contemporary Art, who selected work this year that is collaborative in nature, hosts a yearly event titled OddBall to kick off the ArtPrize season. This past weekend, a few members of the Scott Group family attended the event with the whimsical theme of “Formal Floral.” They were able to spend the evening exploring four floors filled with art installations, musical entertainment, and opulent paper gardens and more specifically, view the opening of Tony’s piece.
When ArtPrize ends, Streetbox I will become a permanent resident of the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art. “UICA is thrilled to be a beneficiary of the collaboration between Tony Ellis and the talented people at Scott Group Custom Carpets. Scott Group has generously contributed a portion of the carpet’s cost, and Tony and his friends and supporters are raising the balance so this beautiful piece can have a permanent home in the UICA’s new Loft space on our 5th floor. UICA members, supporters, and the Kendall College of Art and Design and Ferris State University communities will be able to enjoy the carpet for years to come. We’re very grateful.” – Kristen Taylor, UICA Development Officer
Tony Ellis and Scott Group President Mike Ruggeri at the UICA OddBall event
The heart of Tony’s entry, “Finding Beauty: Grand Rapids,” is collaboration. As Tony says on his ArtPrize page, “The work investigates the hidden beauty that surrounds us unnoticed until presented in a new context, and takes the creative process out of the studio and into the local community.” We love that not only was the creation of this ArtPrize entry a collaboration between Tony and Michigan manufacturers, it goes deeper than that and really became a collaboration of our entire Scott Group family, from the sales representatives and designers to the tufters, the stampers, finishers, and the yarn department. Each person took pride and put a little of their heart into that rug. This isn’t new to us though – it’s why we love what we do.
the completed 8’x10′ rug – Street Box w/ Silk
Streetbox I as well as Streetbox II (a triptych of rolling window shades with custom made valance, created in collaboration with local interior designer J Parker McCollum) can be viewed during ArtPrize from September 24th to October 12th at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art, 2 West Fulton.
an article about this collaboration written from Tony’s wife, Mo’s, perspective: http://www.iowasource.com/arts/2014_08_ellis.html