Self-Identity Fall Exhibition shows art’s positive community impact

Alex Olson

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  • Anna Dunn talks about her pieces “3:00 AM” and “Building a Home” on display at the Self Identity Fall Art Exhibition, hosted by Saxon Art and Design Nov. 30, 2018. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

  • The silent auction at the Self Identity Fall Art Exhibition, hosted by Saxon Art and Design Nov. 30, 2018. The proceeds of the auction will go to Realities for Children. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

  • People look at pieces on display at the Self Identity Fall Art Exhibition, hosted by Saxon Art and Design Nov. 30, 2018. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

  • “Facets” by Tessa Hoenig on display at the Self Identity Fall Art Exhibition, hosted by Saxon Art and Design Nov. 30, 2018. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

  • Patrick Price talking about his piece “The Visitor” that was on display at the Self Identity Fall Art Exhibition, hosted by Saxon Art and Design Nov. 30, 2018. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

  • “Fenced In” by Kyle Singer on display at the Self Identity Fall Art Exhibition, hosted by Saxon Art and Design Nov. 30, 2018. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

  • “The Visitor” by Patrick Price on display at the Self Identity Fall Art Exhibition, hosted by Saxon Art and Design Nov. 30, 2018. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

  • “Move. Reflect. Evolve” by Lauren Briese on display at the Self Identity Fall Art Exhibition, hosted by Saxon Art and Design Nov. 30, 2018. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

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Saxon Martinez, a local artist here in Fort Collins, is not your ordinary person.

people at an art exhibition
People looking at pieces on display at the Self Identity Fall Art Exhibition, hosted by Saxon Art and Design Nov. 30. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

A man focused on community building, Martinez decided that a great way to begin this journey was to create a setting that allowed young, up-and-coming creatives to be themselves as well as get real-world experience in a more authentic art show not ran by their university. Through this was born the Self-Identity Fall Exhibition, which premiered last Friday for one night only. 

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Martinez began the process in the spring of 2018. He pushed for a wide range of art to be welcomed and showcased to provide a platform for artists to present their work as an authentic representation of themselves, hence the title “Self-Identity Fall Exhibition.”

“I wanted them to participate in an off-campus exhibition,” Martinez said. “This process would take them through the steps of what it was like to be in an environment that they might not have been in before.” 

In addition to connecting artists from different art forms and providing a stepping stone for new artists, Martinez wanted to give back to the community. His partnership with Realities for Children served to provide a sense of purpose and to motivate artists to give back. Realities for Children is an organization providing support for Northern Colorado children who have experienced abuse. 

“It’s a really unique (experience), which was exciting and I like the idea of the self-identity theme of the art show,” said Joyce Dickens, the head director for Realities for Children. “They were making it family-friendly and having activities for kids was a neat thing and sort of a good tie-in with us.”

She later stated that never before had they had something exactly like Martinez’s show. The idea to have an auction with the proceeds benefiting Realities for Children as well as the art in general was new territory for the organization. The pieces that were auctioned off offered a range of styles to appeal to a large audience.

“A blank piece of paper is an empty void and it doesn’t tell you anything other than it could be anything, and sometimes that’s paralyzing. That gives you somewhere to start and reply, then it becomes a sort of dialogue with space.” -Kyle Singer, CSU alumnus and artist

One of the three pieces, a street shot taken near Old Town, was offered to the auction by photographer Emma Daugherty. She explained that her previous work was very different from the auction piece.

“A lot of people see my work and say, ‘That’s weird,’ and that’s what I like,” Daugherty said. “I create characters or have a feeling I’ll go off of and create a character out of that. It’s been great to talk with all the other artists and care about other people’s processes and what they went through to get their art here.”

Another artist who brought an auction piece and three other projects was Kyle Singer, a CSU alumnus and impactful member of on the art scene in Fort Collins. His auction piece was named “Cat-astrophy,” which was taken from a piece his girlfriend, Marjorie Lair, created a while back. While describing himself as a hoarder, Singer explained how he took this piece and used watercolor and crayons to create a childlike picture to relate to the benefiting organization.

“A blank piece of paper is an empty void and it doesn’t tell you anything other than it could be anything, and sometimes that’s paralyzing,” Singer said. “That gives you somewhere to start and reply, then it becomes a sort of dialogue with space.” 

art hung on wall at exhibition
“Fenced In” by Kyle Singer on display at the Self Identity Fall Art Exhibition, hosted by Saxon Art and Design Nov. 30. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

Focusing on his other work, Singer pointed out his favorite piece titled “Fenced In,” which was a wooden fence-like structure that was built around the painted canvas.

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“Most of the stuff you see there, making up the composition, is actually like coagulated soda, coffee grounds, tape and then it’s spilled over with Mod Podge,” Singer said in relation to the materials he used to create this unusual piece.

The excitement and talk about Singer’s work helped the diverse structure of the show to be more present and create a good range of appealing pieces. Martinez created a platform for collegiate artists to showcase their projects and begin a solid representation of what their art is and how it reflects themselves. 

Alexander Olson can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com and on Twitter @alex0ls0n.