Just as you approach a beautifully crafted art piece hanging on a wall, your smartphone pings, summoning you to your device. You check the phone and see that it was a text message. After answering the message and discarding the phone to your pocket, the device pings again. Your last tweet has just been retweeted. Your phone is back in your pocket. Without fail, it pings again.
This is just one of the many challenges facing artists today. There is no one in the local art community who knows this more than local artist Guy W. Bell.
“There’s been a shift in the art scene to where art no longer exists on just a wall. It has to engage the viewer,” Bell said.
Bell, 35, has a concept which aims to combat the smartphone culture that consumes many of us living in the digital age.
“One of the cool things about this [concept] was the idea of just trying to get people to look up and see something magical. Something they haven’t seen before.”
His concept: “Ascension,” a levitating and interactive three dimensional sculpture meant to engage the viewer and pull their attention away from their smartphone.
Bell enlisted the help of the community to help with some of the cuts and intricate details involved in creating such a piece.
“Joel [Gordon, director of The Launch Pad at the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub] was one of the people who helped me in constructing it. The interior was really complex, you know building all these pop-out angles. We had to use laser cutters to get it exact.”
The nearly 100-pound interactive work is sure to captivate the attention of onlookers everywhere as it is on display at The Underground in Fayetteville. Next, it’ll be at the Maker Faire at the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub on May 2nd and finally a planned visit in Memphis, Tenn. later this year.
Bell also does commissioned work and was actually asked by the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art to participant in its State of the Art exhibit from September 2014 to January 2015. He contributed a painting, “Cain and Abel,” to the project.
At this rate, Bell will continue his upward trajectory into stardom beyond the local art community. Not bad for a kid who spent his formative years drawing pen and ink while shuffling through airports to see his father, an airline pilot.
To learn more about Guy W. Bell or to purchase original works, visit his website: http://www.guywbell.com.