ITTY: 30 Artists Express Themselves in 2×2 inches

From Santa Cruz Sentinel:
The walls of museums throughout the world are predominantly inhabited by large paintings and sculptures illustrating the history of our creative souls. But for hundreds of years, miniature art has often out valued its larger counterparts. The first Fabergé egg was crafted for Tsar Alexander III, who had decided to give his wife an Easter egg in 1885. Known as the “Hen Egg,” the first Fabergé egg was crafted from gold. It contained a small diamond replica of the Imperial Crown from which a small ruby pendant was suspended. In London, the 16th century art of miniature painting had become so popular that the Society of Miniature Painters was founded in 1896. In 1904, King Edward VII granted the society a royal charter and it was renamed the Royal Miniature Society or RMS. In 1926, the society’s scope was extended to include sculptors and gravers and its name was changed by the Royal Command of King George V. When the society was founded the maximum size for a miniature was 12 by 10 inches. Today the permitted size, including the frame, is 6 by 4.5 inches.

Six thousand miles away, the upcoming “ITTY” art show in Santa Cruz is an exhibit of 30 local artists creating works no larger than 2 by 2 inches and will open at the Apricity Gallery on First Friday, Feb. 7. “ITTY” is the brainchild of artists Sarah Bianco, Jesse Autumn, and Crystal Liebold who asked themselves the question, “does size really matter?” Along with their work on display will be the work of Ann Hazels, Robert Larson, Jody Alexander, Stephen Lynch, Dee Hooker, Bridget Henry, Michelle Stitz, Sarah Day, Mary Atkinson, Johanna Atkinson, Maria Chomentowski, Scott Rasmann, Elijah Pfotenhauer, Ray Sumser, Jenny Markowitz, Heejin Lee, Howard Seth Miller, Joohee Kim Miller, Telopa Treloky, Susan Vaughn, Margaret Niven, Poppy de Garmo, Lisa Giovannetti. Lexis Rubenis, Rylan Freshour, and Nathan Goodman.

I spoke with Sarah Bianco about “ITTY.”

Kirby Scudder: Does size really matter?

Sarah Bianco: It’s funny you ask that, because it actually does. We asked a lot of very accomplished artists to produce works for the show that were no larger that 2 inches by 2 inches and they each had to be individual works. They couldn’t put together a group of smaller works to create a larger work. Each of the artists talked about how much harder it is to scale imagery down than up. So in a lot of ways it has been really challenging for many of them to work on that scale. But it has also challenged them in an interesting way in that they are producing different work than they usually do and in some cases working in different mediums. One would think that to produce larger work would be harder, but in some ways it’s the opposite. We just received a piece in the mail from an artist in New York that is painted on a match book cover. Our idea in creating the “ITTY” show was to set down a series of conditions that would force artists to think differently than they normally do about size. Size matters, and it not only challenges the artist to view their work differently, but how the viewer perceives the work of art. I think people will find this smaller format really interesting. As the works are coming in, it has been really interesting to see what the artists have come up with.

KS: What can a visitor expect to see at “ITTY”?

SB: Despite the size of the works, there is a full range of mediums that the artists are using. Photography, watercolor, oil, encaustic, leather, pen-and-ink along with just about everything else. Some artists are doing single pieces and some are doing a series of pieces for the show. It has been interesting working with the artists as they go through their process and the artistic ways in which they meet the challenge. All of the work is coming in this week so we still don’t know the full breadth of the show, but everything that we have seen has been really interesting as well as surprising. We are still discussing how we will hang the show, but we have some good ideas and I am looking forward to seeing all of the pieces together.