“Dawn of 2012” Reveals the Future of Art… and the Revival of the Polaroids

         I recently had the opportunity to participate in my first group show at a gallery. I submitted seven works of art, all acrylic paintings in varying sizes. The art exhibition was held at Fulcrum Gallery in downtown Tacoma and the opening reception was held on January 26th, 2012 from 6 PM to 9 PM. Originally the opening reception was held the previous Thursday but was postponed due to the weather and road conditions at that time. This became a benefit for me since I had one of my larger paintings held in a now shut down business. I was luckily able to retrieve the painting right before the show!!!

With the fiasco put aside, I began a mass marketing campaign through Tacoma Community College, my day job, friends, family and other channels. Having as much people attending is just as important as actually making sales of works of art. Networking seems to be a common experience at these art-related events. Of course, my friends, family, and I dress up for the occasion. I believe every individual artist must have a specific look and unique fashion style. Before the show, I requested custom-designed fingerless leather gloves from Urdsadt-Swan (a successful and local New York designer duo). They’re design firm’s luxury products (cashmere accessories and leather goods) have been featured in many fashion magazines. The request included a specific style of another cropped, lambskin fingerless gloves while incorporating the snakeskin used in another glove. The design became a success and they decided to release a new line of these very gloves under my name! My excellent customer service experience paralleled their craftsmanship and design, and pretty much treated me like a celebrity!

Check them out at http://www.urstadt-swan-shop.com/

Returning back to the show, we were with the wonderful art posse and welcomed with tons of people already attending the show. I decided to not only bring my Nikon DSLR but my Polaroid camera as well. I thought I can invite other people to be a little more interactive with the art show by taking Polaroid photos of them enjoying the experience. I laid out all the developed Polaroid photos on the table where they served the wine, cheese, and crackers. As I enjoyed my wine in a Dixie cup, I make my rounds to greet my friends, other artists, and guests to introduce myself and talk about the art. The show included six emerging artists: Kelsi Finney, Gabriel Brown, Kirsten Marie Pisto, Meghan Mitchell, and Branden Urban.

All the works of art exhibited was spectacular, but I had a good amount of attention reserved by Branden Urban’s functional sculpture title “Paint Bomb.” It was conceived right before the show began. Three 30 year old empty Krylon spray paint cans are attached forming a triangular shape. A functional analog time display sits nicely in a window that was cut into one side of one of the Krylon cans. The first thought that came to mind when I approached this work of art was a sense of fictional danger. The functional sculpture looked literally like a time bomb! The piece almost have an imaginary “patina,” consisting on occasional old paint drips and scuffs left behind by the passing of time.


Gabriel Brown’s installation of whimsical floating, suburban houses each isolated in it own islands constructed out of Astroturf and cardboard remnants. The title of the piece is “Floating Island Estates,” simply described by Gabriel Brown as follows: “These prime plots of land with 360 degree views, consistent climate, and zero maintenance grass, offer you the consumer 100% complete and total independence from the rest of the world.” The whole installation is about 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide all around. The mediums used are cardboard, plastic, and cotton. This work exists visually in an open space and volume. The air currents provide subtle, autonomous movements among each individual islands. One may spin one way and the other the different way. The unique color combinations of each house dressed by a specific consumer product company’s designs create interest in the work while unifying it at the same time.


All the islands are suspended from the ceiling with fishing lines, adding to the illusion of floating suburban houses. Each of the tiny houses is carefully constructed out of boxes of varying companies such as McDonald’s or Foster Farms. This work of art seems to challenge suburban ideas and invoke a sense of isolation, trapped in the confines of consumer products. I imagine myself living in one of these tiny houses where I can see my neighbors, but can’t really communicate with them.

My overall experience was amazing! During the duration of the opening reception, it remained to be a full house. Kelsi Finney’s works really sparked my imagination, Kirsten Marie Pisto’s works fascinated me on a different level, Meghan Mitchell’s works on paper was impeccable, and other works inspired me. I was able to network with many of the great artists that were also exhibiting their works and other art lovers. As for my works of art, it was well received. After the show, I had the opportunity to read my first published review covering the whole show. Though most of the review that involves me is positive, Katy Evans describes some of my works as “rendered impeccably” while others fluxuates to “slapdash and amateur.” I will take that constructive criticism and work on improving and growing as a visual artist. If you’re interested in what the wonderful Katy Evans had to show about the group show and I, check out the website URL listed below.


To conclude, this group show has been an invigorating experience for many others and me. This became another new milestone in my progression into the profession of fine art and soon I’ll follow up with a much better body of work than ever before. Feel free to check out the works at Fulcrum Gallery in downtown Tacoma on Martin Luther King Jr. Way near the Tempest Lounge and 1022. It’s near the cross streets 13th and MLK Jr. Way in the Western Style building brightly colored in turquoise. I would love to hear your praises AND constructive criticism.

Evans, Katy. ““Dawn of 2012″ Breaks at the Fulcrum Gallery.” Post Defiance. 27 Jan 2012: n. page. Web. 31 Jan. 2012. <http://postdefiance.com/dawn-of-2012-breaks-at-the-fulcrum-gallery/&gt;.

Check out this NY based designer of leather goods and cashmere accessories @ http://www.urstadt-swan.com/



About Julian Peña

I'm a visual artist and student currently in progress to attaining a Bachelors of Fine Arts. I've been creating fantastical works of art since I was at the age of 13 years old. My work is transcendent beyond the material world and life itself. The paintings are polychromatic and visually exciting, while still maintaining a level of harmony. The subjects in many of these works of art may not exist at all despite what we perceive. It is a play on perception, an attempt to engage the viewers. I has earned numerous scholarships, participated in several group exhibitions, and already organized my own solo exhibition (CMYK, 2011). My meticulous and unique style is visually arresting. New ideas are constantly being examined and then visually communicated. Come check out my works at www.julianpena.com! I am is also currently part of the 253 Collective (a co-op) in downtown Tacoma. I currently live and work out of my loft in downtown Tacoma, WA.


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  3. That all sounds like great fun – glad it was such a success!

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