Posted July 17th, 2012
When asked to describe the theme of her bear, artist Kim Parkhurst said, “Fun & Games Bear is made of the stuff of childhood play.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. From a distance this bear is a brilliant rainbow of color, but as you approach you notice that it is covered head to paw with hundreds of toys and trinkets!! What fun! You can find this playful bear in front of the Union Mart at 123 Cottage St.
Read more about the artist’s process and inspiration for Fun & Games Bear in the Q & A below.
What town/city do you live in?
Where is your studio? What is your usual artistic focus/genre, when you aren’t working on a bear?
My studio used to be an upstairs kitchen. It looks out onto apple trees and a duck pond. Calloway the parrot is my studio supervisor, and in spring and summer I often have incubators full of eggs in here too.
My work ranges from traditional painting to sculpture and fiber art. Animals are a common theme in my work. I try to work vibrant and rich, with lots of detail to reward a lingering viewer.
What was the process you used on the bear?
I put out the call in my community for toy box flotsam and jetsam – orphaned game pieces, Barbie shoes, Lego pieces, toy cars, gumball machine charms, and so on. A lot of my friends are parents, and were kind enough to indulge me as they embarked on their spring cleaning. I also haunted thrift stores and yard sales to round out the assortment. I sorted the toys by size and color, and affixed them to the bear with weatherproof silicone.
The bear’s sculptural components were by necessity found objects, mostly donated. They had to be small, to become part of the composite surface. I wanted to make the bear a big, substantial entity out of thousands of tiny, forgettable trinkets.
What is the theme for your bear and what was the inspiration?
Fun & Games Bear is made of the stuff of childhood play.
What have you loved about the project?
Playing with toys is just as much fun as it used to be.
In what ways do you hope your bear will move the folks who view it?
I hope they’ll be struck at first by how colorful it is to view from a distance. I hope they draw closer to inspect the individual elements, and spend time recognizing old favorite game and toy bits. I hope it sparks happy recollections.
What else would you like to say about your project or the Bear Fest as a whole?
I love Bear Fest! Our region has so many incredible artists. Bear Fest is a fantastic event and I love seeing the ingenuity of the artists, and the enthusiasm of the community!