The Yukon Arts Centre has recently completed our first ever push-pin art project with the help of the community. This participatory art piece required many hands to ‘pin’ a total of thirty thousand push pins, recreating the colourful landscape painting Lone Woman with Ravens from 1991 by Yukon artist Ted Harrison.
Community pinning at the Old Fire Hall, Culture Days 2014
Participatory artwork is meant to engage an audience, to animate a space, and to encourage dialogue and reflection, amongst other things. At the Yukon Arts Centre we are always eager to take on these kinds of projects which we hope will provide our visitors with a stimulating and memorable experience at the Centre.
During Culture Days 2014, a national festival of arts and culture, YAC re-produced an idea from the Toronto School of Art using push-pins to interpret a masterpiece of painting. While the TSA chose to reproduce a painting by French post-impressionist painter Georges Seurat, we decided not to stray too far from home. We were inspired by the vivid colours and organic shapes of Ted Harrison’s paintings, particularly his landscape painting Lone Woman with Ravens (1991). The northern lights and sparkling mountains were ideal forms to be re-created with colourful push-pins. Altogether, thirty thousand white push-pins were spray painted to achieve the twenty two colours necessary to reproduce Harrison’s brilliant masterpiece.
Boxes of push-pins
As a first step, Harrison’s work had to be sketched on a large four by eight piece of coroplast. After the sketch was complete, we began spray painting the push-pins in batches to allow them to dry and be packaged.
The project was revealed during the Culture Days weekend in September, and visitors at the Old Fire Hall were invited to ‘pin’ with us. It was difficult to estimate the time frame this project would take and finally it was not completed that weekend. The project moved up to the lobby of the YAC where it continued to develop.
After weeks of helpful and curious visitors pinning, the Harrison interpretation was complete. The image has been beautifully filled in with brilliant colour contrasts, dimension to the raised pins on the surface and the abstracted forms within the image, which only show their true selves when you back up from the work.
Here's the transition as a .gif. A "paint-by-numbers," crowd-sourced pushpin tribute to Ted Harrison pic.twitter.com/fjjDYu4yKG— Philippe Morin (@YukonPhilippe) November 13, 2014
The Yukon Arts Centre would like to thank the community for participating in this project, and the Yukon Office Supply Centre for their generous sponsorship. Without you the project would not have been possible.
Stages of the project, from original painting, sketched copy to final masterpiece!