“Artists take this challenge of having to work within this confined space in different ways: Some artists look at it as ‘OK, I have a relatively small canvas to experiment with something new ... but for some artists like myself, 12-by-12 is actually pretty large,” Karper said.
To create her whimsical seascape “Pursued by an Octopus,” Karper cut aquatic illustrations out of old children's educational books, reassembled them into a three-dimensional diorama and photographed it in black and white.
Opportunity for risks
The story with Romy Owens' 12x12 submission is that it isn't at all typical of her usual work, which involves shooting digital photographs, cutting them up and then hand-sewing them back together.
For her 12x12 entry, though, the Oklahoma City artist took an otherworldly Hipstamatic cell phone still of Marco Brambilla's “Civilization,” a video artwork installed in the elevator of the Standard Hotel in New York City, and had it acrylic mounted.
“It is radically different imagery. This is a whole different aesthetic,” said Owens, who is participating in her fifth 12x12. “It is nice to be able to do something that is different.”
Last year's 12x12 raised more than $65,000, which went primarily to OVAC's grants and awards programs. Owens received a grant earlier this year to frame the 29 hand-stitched photos in her “The Keanus” series — each photo is named after a Keanu Reeves movie character — on view through Sunday at JRB Art at the Elms.
“It's a way to give back and support the organization that helps individual visual artists more than anybody else in the entire state,” Owens said. “And it's the show to be in.”