Week two was full of energy, expressed through a pajama spirit day and playing dress-up, while week three was full of PVC trees and Taco Tuesday. For me, week four of Design and Build was kicked off, sky-rocketed, even, by attending the Denver date of Vans Warped Tour on Sunday. This year marks the final full cross-country run of the Vans Warped Tour, which Shiki the Yeti so readily accompanied me to. Personally, this year’s event holds a special place in my heart, since this tour began the year I was born, and not only is this year the last year of the annual Warped Tour as we know it, but it’s also the tenth consecutive Vans Warped Tour that I’ve attended with my brother. This tour, the largest traveling music festival in the United States, saturated with influential musicians, has helped fuel my passion for music, which has, since I was a wee itty-bitty twelve year old, transformed and ignited my passion for visual and performing arts.
“Why bring up Warped Tour?” you might wonder. Well, not only did Shiki and I attend, but also it reminds me that the feeling I get when I think about how monumental, impactful, and majical Warped Tour has been for all of these years is the same exact feeling that I get when I envision Prismajic’s Natura Obscura. The butterflies whisp through my stomach and gingerly through my mind when I think about the potential for the piece we’re creating together. It’s not just an art installation, it’s a full immersive experience. It will transport you, overcoming all worries in your daily life, igniting your youthful spirit, engaging the elements of play and discovery that perpetually reside inside of you, waiting for an opportunity to peak out and play. I believe experiences that resonate with people so much can impact their imagination, creativity, and thought processes in a deeply profound way, and having the opportunity to help create that experience for others gives me goosebumps every time that I think about it.
Nevertheless, in the studio, many tasks manifested, to-do lists grew longer, and we began to approach larger group and independent tasks. Daniel, Eggs, and myself got invited to a social media team meeting, where we got invited to help curate and manage the @NaturaOb Instagram account. We were so grateful for the opportunity, and we’re really excited to start helping out with the social media side of marketing for Natura Obscura. As I’ve briefly mentioned, Eggs and I have also been tasked with making molds of crystals, mushrooms, and other creatures of the forest. Personally, I’ve only ever used plaster molds to slip cast, and Eggs has only ever done small-scale resin casting, so when more complex forms came into play, we thankfully were able to recruit Stephanie to help us. Stephanie is a genius, the mold-making queen, if you will. She knows how to cast bronze, resin, and many more materials, so we were super grateful to have her help. When trying to convert plaster molds into silicone molds, she knew just the right method to employ, ensuring were were working smarter, not harder. Justin and I were able to handle the sculpting, and then us gals finally got some functioning molds made so we geared up into production mode.
Justin began creating the creatures of the forest, sketching out possible animal-like forms, incorporating elements of the forest and nature into each design. Andrew began to create the barn owls that will be living amongst the installation, breathing life into the owls by utilizing and rejuvenating recycled materials. Tracy jumped back in where she left off, fabricating the walls of the cave, and Daniel began illustrating our Mother Nature motif. Alex continued creating the most accurate and organized floor plan and lighting strategy as possible. Not only did Silas begin brainstorming for some projection pieces, but he got a real cast on, so we all signed his cast with excitement and tapped into our youthful spirits by signing with some variation of the abbreviation HAGS, have a great summer. We offset the strain of hard work by treating ourselves to lunch at Chick-Fil-A, which by my definition, has turned into a full-fledged, museum-wide addiction.
Wednesday was so graciously given to us as a day off due to Independence Day, yet that couldn’t stop us from seeing each other. Jen and Eric so generously invited all of us over for a barbeque! I had plans with my family, so I wasn’t able to join until later in the evening, but it looked like everyone had such a lovely and fun time during the day. After I arrived and received the grand tour, including the stories of Jens haunted powder room, (perfectly accompanying the tales of the ghost we believe we have in the MOA women’s restroom) we made a flambeed dessert with fresh-picked cherries and watched the fireworks. It was so lovely seeing everyone want to spend time with one another on our holiday off.
On Thursday we prepared for the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, and we pumped up the energy on Friday morning by blasting High School Musicals “We’re All in This Together” in the studio… it got mixed reviews.
Anyways, some of us interns helped Eric by working The Cherry Creek Arts Festival on Saturday and Sunday, and overall, it was successful, yet pretty challenging. I feel like we reached so many new faces, made so many new friends, and were able to create excitement around Natura Obscura within another area of our Denver community. Unfortunately, however, due to the extreme heat of the weekend, we did have some technical difficulties. The goal of the activation at CCAF was to provide an immersive virtual reality experience where our viewers would get a taste of what we’re creating at the Museum of Outdoor Arts. Guests entered into the inflatable bubble tent, equipped with air conditioning, white whimsical trees, and white ottomans to relax on. VR headsets located in the bubble tent were fully loaded with the Natura Obscura promo video, and as we helped visitors get comfortable in the headsets, we began to feel the pressure to keep our viewers informed and intrigued, yet keep people flowing through the VR experience as quickly as possible, to keep the line down. About midday on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the temperatures tip-toed over 100 degrees, and even the air conditioner couldn’t keep the bubble tent cool enough to safely accommodate people and operate the VR technology. People were getting too hot and the VR headsets shut down due to overheating. We had to call it and evacuate the bubble, but we did our best and put our hive-mind to work, brainstorming ways to rearrange the space in an effective way, allowing the VR headsets to stay in the shade, along with those enjoying them.
Generally, week four was full of working hard and playing hard. I wouldn’t trade this internship for the world.