Free to Be

By Sally Blodgett

Ideas and imagination ebb and flow freely like a tide.  Competitions of art and design inspire waves of creativity and encourage young creatives to not only put forth some their best work, but also to collaborate with others who share similar goals and mindsets.  Companies and foundations host art and design competitions that offer the opportunity to apply skills, collaborate with other creatives, and put work on display.  Recently, Lexus and the Royal College of Art teamed up to give students the opportunity to design what the future of cars might look like, and the LOEWE Foundation’s Craft Prize lets artists explore and expand upon traditional art techniques.  Read more about these new waves of opportunity below in Free to Be.

There are art and design competitions designated solely for students, where they are encouraged to freely test out the skills they learn and challenge their creativity with real world applications. Students are able to try new things and push their ideas out without the restrictions of commerce and business which allows for a lot more creativity to be explored and put on display. Being given the opportunity to create something on a serious level in collaboration with global companies is an amazing opportunity for students.  After putting in the work in the classroom, learning theories and engaging with professors and peers, the next step in honing your skills is to apply it to the real world, but a competition potentially allows for a protection from the commercial world.

Graduate students at the Royal Academy of the Arts (RCA) in London participated in a creativity challenge sponsored by the luxury car brand, Lexus.  The goal was to explore what the luxury car might look like in Europe in the year 2040.

The students, all studying in the RCA’s Intelligent Mobility Design Centre, were given the opportunity to create a design for a car that would reflect the changes in European society in the coming years.  The finalists’ designs contained influences from other cultures, a focus on alternative forms of energy, and the intersection of vehicular architecture and modern technology.  For example, one of the shortlisted designs utilized new frontiers of digital technology. Another, aimed at recognizing seasonal changes in urban areas, allows for changes in the intensity of light flooding into the car from the outside and changes the colors on the inside of the car based on the season.

These other worldly designs are a result of participants being given the opportunity to use their creativity and skills freely, without commercial restrictions.  Just imagine what our future cars, phones, laptops, or lives could look like if great minds are given the freedom to create.

Another competition that inspires people to freely be creative is the LOEWE Foundation’s Craft Prize.  The Craft Prize competition accepts artwork of varying mediums from artists all over the world.  The aim of this competition is for the artists to put a contemporary twist on ancient, traditional art techniques.  The finalists for the Craft Prize 2022 represent 16 different countries and use many different materials and mediums including wood, ceramics, and even recycled coffee cups. 

The Craft Prize competition encourages artists to take traditional art techniques and use out of the box thinking to mold them with contemporary ideas, thus connecting past, present, and future.  It offers artists the freedom to explore their abilities and challenge themselves beyond what they believed they could do.

Art and design competitions gives artists, students, and many others the opportunity to freely explore the bounds of their creativity.  They can challenge themselves and produce work that is beyond what might be possible under regular restrictions. 

In art, having the ability to be free to create whatever your heart desires is a powerful thing. Competitions like these are an exciting and unconventional outlet for this creativity that lets participants put their work on display.

You can find the projects of the six finalists from RCA’s program Lexus 2040: The Soul of Future Premium at an exhibition at The Royal College of Art’s new campus in Battersea, London where the three winning designs will be announced.

The work of the 16 finalists of the LOEWE Foundation’s Craft Prize 2022 will be put on display at the new Seoul Museum of Craft Art in South Korea starting at the end of June.  The winner of the competition will be selected when the exhibition opens.

If you enjoyed this, read more from this month’s theme, Louche, in Sensual Ease.

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