An “architecture pavilion” will be a sculpture of corrugated cardboard at Cesar Chavez Plaza. A smaller version will be at the MARRS building.

Launch festival: Visual arts are a key component

Published: Sunday, Sep. 1, 2013 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Tuesday, Sep. 3, 2013 - 3:37 pm

The Launch festival’s musical lineup offers plenty for the ears, but there’s much to see and ponder, as well. Visual arts are a key component of Launch’s offerings of paintings, art installations and architecture meshing with the concerts and fashion shows.

Among the visual arts featured at Launch: an exhibition of concert posters, a massive “architecture pavilion” made of corrugated cardboard, and a large collaborative painting that serves as the backdrop for Launch’s main festival stage.

Clay Nutting, Launch’s co-founder, believes these artistic collaborations and inspired visuals help define the festival’s spirit. Music, fashion and visual art are meant to merge throughout the week.

“It’s about how these disciplines overlap one another,” said Nutting. “We have a lot of opportunities for the artists to create together, and you don’t always see that.”

The public can even help collaborate on Launch’s signature architecture pavilion. Think of this art installation as a three-story-high sculpture of corrugated cardboard that will serve as shade and a gathering place at Cesar Chavez Plaza during the music festival. A smaller version will be installed at the MARRS building on 20th and K streets for Launch events.

The construction, which is headed by Sacramento architect Jason Silva and a consortium of students, will include more than 2,500 pieces of corrugated cardboard. Silva and his crew have been putting the pieces together for the past month at the Fab Lab, a makeshift studio space in the Downtown Plaza. It’s crunch time to finish the project, and volunteers are invited to help glue the pieces together from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today through Tuesday.

Silva says this year’s version of the architecture pavilion will be about twice the size as 2012’s version at Launch. But the overall idea remains the same: To re-imagine public spaces.

“It’s the kind of thing that brings people together in a civic environment,” said Silva. “(Many) metropolitan cities have public spaces where art and design are very important, but Sacramento has very little of that. If you change the space, you change people’s perceptions of the space. It gets people out. It gets people downtown. It engages people and makes them think.”

The backdrop for Launch’s music festival stage in Cesar Chavez Plaza is also constructed in a collaborative spirit. A trio of Sacramento artists — Micah Crandall-Bear, Kim Squaglia and Jose Di Gregorio — are painting the 10-by-27-foot backdrop. Working in conjunction for a single piece was a new experience for all the artists, but they knew they wanted a finished work that would pair well with the movement and sounds coming from the stage.

Crandall-Bear specializes in abstract, colorful landscapes while Squaglia and Di Gregorio are renowned for their line work. The final product is expected to feature retro overtones — almost Pink Floyd-ish, said Crandall-Bear — with plenty of movement.

“The entire concept started with the three of us at LowBrau drawing it out on a napkin,” said Crandall-Bear. “We’re all very different painters, but I knew there was no question this would work, given our three styles. Finding out how to work with one another, they compared it to being like the first few band practices. We’ve been getting a good reaction from people who’ve taken a peek.”

Also on tap for Launch’s artistic offerings: a large-scale installation of colorful, triangular wire hangers that suggests celestial bodies. This multimedia work is conceived by Danny Scheible and can be seen in various sections of Cesar Chavez Plaza.

Sacramento graphic designers have also been recruited to create a series of posters that represent the musical acts at Launch. Among the participating designers: Jason Malmberg, John Conley, Laura Matranga and more. A poster show featuring these works is also being planned, so check for the latest information.

Put all these artistic endeavors together and you find a lot of creativity with Sacramento as the canvas.

“All of us were just wanting to work with other artists we admired in Sacramento,” said Crandall-Bear. “Launch was the perfect platform.”

Call The Bee’s Chris Macias, (916) 321-1253. Follow him on Twitter @chris_macias

Read more articles by Chris Macias

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