S_V_H The Blue Danube – Awards Night at the Pablo

Photo - Barb Von Holzen

This smiling face means that this Art has finally received recognition.  This last Friday night at the Pablo Center artist’s reception for the Homecoming exhibit I received the third prize winner for the artwork The Blue Danube (2001 Space Odyssey).   It surprised both Barb and me.  This is the fourth reception this year we attended, and at each event, there was always hope that the artwork would receive at less an honorable mention.  In the lead up to the prizes being announced Rose Dolan-Neill the Visual and Literary Arts Manager mentioned that they received four-hundred applications from thirty states and that they had a difficult time choosing the fifty-three that were apart from this show.  She considers us all winners and I believe her.  In the audience, there was not one artist that did not think they deserved the Grand prize. The juror for the Pablo show was Yoonshin Park.

I remember telling Barb that I wanted to talk to the juror and approached Yoonshin Park in the awards room, even though there were others standing by her.  I was on a mission and eager to ask for feedback.  Because I was on an emotional victory high, I recall only parts of the conversation between Yoonshin Park, her friend, and me.

To describe the overall exchange I would say it was, enthusiastic, exciting and fast-paced, and confusing.  To my disappointment, I had difficulty in understanding Yoonshin Park’s English accent.  She was born in Seoul Korean.  Here is the Pablo’s information about the juror:  “Yoonshin Park is working with sculptural papers, artist books, and installation. Her main media concentration is pulp, paper and books. Her interest in comprehensive process of paper making and book binding caters her work to en-compass various elements woven into complete objects. She received her M.A. and M.F.A. in Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts from Columbia College Chicago. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. She was born in Seoul, Korea and currently resides in Chicago, IL.”


There was one moment when Yoonshin Part spoke and I repeated the words in my mind so to try to not forget.  She said these specific words about this art “…different direction…”  To my great disappointment, I cannot remember what she said right before or after.  I remember her saying she had a hard decision choosing between The Blue Danube and another entry, Mozart Serenade No. 13.  With the mention of Mozart during our conversation, I bought up my current artwork, Twinkle Little Star, and told her about the connection with Mozart.  She said she knew the music adding no further details.  She asked about the size of the work, and I said about five feet by four feet, and she and her friend both had a reaction, but I did follow up to know what they meant.  I remember her praising how the features,  structure, or makeup of The Blue Danube, worked so well together.  I remember her talking about her understanding of the artwork, and as I listen I became lost.  I pointed to the picture of The Blue Danube on my award to make sure she had not mistaken my artwork for another winner at the show.  She said yes she was talking about the Danube and I said something about I never looked at the artwork that way.  I don’t remember her description.  I remember praising her as an artist and may have asked her something about the moment that she thought she had made it as an artist?  To my surprise, she looked away from me and mentioned that for four years she struggled and did little or no work on her art.  I remember no more other details about her art, but I recall being surprised by her honestly.  I think she asked how did I come up with the description of my art, which is Interactive Constructed Sculpture.  I told Yoonshin that I never like the term, mixed media.  I mentioned that I had 200 art books, maybe to tell her how I came across the term.  Then I described Pablo Picasso’s cardboard wall sculpture of a violin (actually it was a guitar) he did in 1911, which was the first Constructed Sculpture.  I asked her about getting my art out so more could see it.   I said something like I didn’t want this art to die in Eau Claire.  Although, I quickly defended Eau Claire for being good for my art.   That is when she and her friend both perked up and after a short search, Yoonshin pulled out her calling card and pen and wrote Chicago Sculpture International.  She is a member and spoke about an upcoming exhibition at the Bridgeport Museum if I did not mind traveling. Then her friend mentioned, and Yoonshin wrote the web address callforentry.org that she thought would be helpful.  I do not know why it came up, but I told her one of my goals was to walk into the museum of Modern Art and look across the gallery and see my name on an artwork.  I then said somewhat awkwardly that I would then look for my next goal.   For reasoning beyond me, I said to her not everyone can be a child prodigy.  That statement seemed to light both of them up in agreement.  I continued that some of us have to take the moment whenever it comes. For me, at seventy I wanted to take the next twenty years to see how far this art could go.  Yoonshin Park was kind, thoughtful, open and helpful. Talking and listening to her was as important to me as the award.  I have never had a conversation with a successful contemporary Artist.  It thrilled me.  I lastly remember asking her if it would be okay to email her and she was fine with that.  A few other remembrances are that I slouch down so I could have more eye to eye contact with Yoonshin.  I remember her standing there with her coat wrapped over her arm.   I reached out a few times and lightly touching her coat when we were talking.  I guess to add emphasis to a point I was making, but wish I had not.  Finally, when they were ready to move on, I gently shook their hands and remembered saying to her friend, who was much taller than Yoonshin and dress in all black with a hat, that it was nice meeting her even though no one had mentioned her name.

Awards Ceremony clip of me receiving third-place at the Pablo Center for the Artwork The Blue Danube.  I never thought of the video and did not realize that Barb had captured this important moment.

Scott Von Holzen