Each year since 2013, thousands of established and emerging artists from 9 Southeastern states have applied to exhibit their work at Artfields, a nine day art competition and festival held April 22nd through 29th, which is quickly becoming the region's premier annual art event. Nearly 400 artists are chosen to participate, and for the duration of the festival the small town of Lake City, South Carolina is transformed into an interactive art gallery, with pieces of original art displayed in local businesses, on city streets, and in restored and converted historic buildings all over the small city. Entries are judged by a panel of well qualified judges as well as voted on by the visiting public. Monetary awards totaling over $100,000.00 are awarded based on the judges opinion as well as the results of the popular vote. Attendance is free and anyone present in Lake City may cast a vote! Matthew has participated in Artfields since 2016 and this year's entry, "Giesel's Garden" is his most intricate and amazing entry to date!
Giesel's Garden stands over 10 feet tall with a diameter of nearly 6 feet. The piece features 13 individual blooms, each a work of art in it's own right, affixed to an intertwined network of spiraling stems atop a bed of metal ferns. The materials used in it's construction include upcycled stainless steel flatware, misc. steel industrial components, steel rod, bearing balls, pipe, and plate. Each component was meticulously shaped, polished, and welded into place using MiG welding techniques, prior to being painted with multiple blended layers of Dupont's Imron 3.5 HG. The finishing system used on Giesel's Garden has seen widespread usage in the marine, aerospace, and heavy equipment industries and is renowned for its durability and color retention. The piece disassembles for easier transport and is securely free standing, though the base includes mounting holes for permanent outdoor installation.
The Piece is on display at Deanna's Bath and Body Boutique, 119 Main Street, Lake City South Carolina during Artfields 2017, April 21st through April 29th, 2017.
Artfields is an art competition based partially upon the results of a public vote. Admission to all of the venues is free, and anyone present in Lake City during the event may cast a vote for their favorite piece. Attendees must check in at the Artfields HQ on Main Street in Lake City, and then may vote in person, online, or via text. Visit ArtFieldsSC.org for more information. The voting ID for Matthew's piece Giesel's Garden is #244564.
Matthew J. Leavell
Sculptor. Artist. Innovator.
The creation of Giesel's Garden began in the fall of 2016, amidst the division and turmoil caused by the 2016 presidential election season and fueled by a number of serious social, political, and humanitarian incidents and crisis. The decision facing each of the hundreds of applicants to Artfields 2017 was whether to address such issues directly with their art submissions, or somehow attempt to transcend them. Matthew opted for the latter. Art is, among other things, a powerful means of communication, and an artist communicating about the issues most important to them through their art is certainly appropriate and understandable. However, art also possesses the potential to transcend temporal human issues, and convey deep intangible concepts with the power to inspire, unite, and uplift those who view it. Matthew's desire in creating Giesel's Garden was to create a piece of art devoid of the potential to bolster division, hatred, or anger, as such things are unfortunately not in short supply in our modern world.