By Andrew Watson
Two BYU students are making a name for themselves after winning a sculpture contest at The Canyons Resort in Park City last month.
Chelsy Smith, 20, and John Gumaelius, 24, were selected by a panel of five judges to create The Canyons” first public sculpture displays.
“I just gave it my best shot, being true to myself and true to them by giving something that I wanted to make,” said Gumaelius. “They loved the idea. It makes me feel real good that my art, the stuff that I like, other people like – and give me a commission to do it.”
Both winners each received $4,000 in prize money and an additional $4,000 in donated materials to build their sculptures, which will be ready in May.
Fifteen contestants from BYU and the University of Utah entered the competition with hopes to display their sculptures at the resort.
The contest theme “Earth, Wind, and Fire” inspired Smith to center her piece on wind.
“I love the wind,” she said. “I love the way it sounds and the way it makes you feel.”
Her sculpture depicts the mountains in The Canyons Resort logo turned sideways and stacked vertically, forming a human-like skier flying down a mountain from one angle and soaring birds from another angle.
“I have to give a lot of credit to the professors here,” Smith said. “I got a lot of encouragement from them, and I couldn”t have done it without them.”
Gumaelius took a different approach.
“I”m interested in my own thing – conveying my own life through puppets,” he said. “I like people to interact with my pieces, and I like to interact with people viewing my pieces.”
Gumaelius”s sculpture is a three-headed metallic bird-like puppet with moveable beaks and wings. By pulling on levers, people can make the beaks open and close and spin the wings.
“I like thinking about moving parts and grabbing pieces,” he said. “I don”t really think of representations or metaphors for life in my work – people can draw their own conclusions. For me, it”s just a puppet and I want people to interact with it.”
Since winning the contest, Smith and Gumaelius have learned about the business side of art.
“It taught me a lot about how to deal with the business world,” Smith said. “As an artist, we need to think about how to market and deal with businesses to get funding.”
Gumaelius is hoping to get some name exposure through his work at The Canyons. In May, he will be moving to Washington to work as an independent artist.
“I”m hoping that through the sculpture at The Canyons, I”ll get some exposure for my work,” he said.
Smith and Gumaelius, both majoring in sculpture, are involved in independent projects in addition to their sculptures for The Canyons.
Smith is working on a project involving 500 eggs that will be ready in March.
Gumaelius is preparing for a puppet show he will put on in the Harold B. Lee Library auditorium in April, centering on his metallic creations.