My date with the slug queen!!!

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David’s Napoleon Bonaparte Crossing the Alps

“There are two metal snaps somewhere back there,” says Queen Slugasana, craning her head around as I attempt to pin the train of her ball gown onto her gluteus maximus.

Things are getting pretty real here at One Step Big Shot. When I started this blog, I sent a link to three people: my mom, my dad and my best friend Julianne. Less than thirty days and hundreds of hits later, I’m helping Eugene’s biggest celebrity don her royal garb so that we can make spray paint art and then hang with Eugene’s art bourgeois at the First Friday Art Walk.

How did this happen? It all started with the name of this blog, which is based on a Polaroid exhibit that was in the Jordan Schnitzer MOA last year. When the blog went live, it popped up on Schnitzer PR Representative Debbie Williamson’s Google alerts and she checked it out.

Meanwhile, I was courting the SLUG Queen in the Twitterverse for an interview because, well, she’s her own work of art. In the first of many wonderful coincidences, it turns out that Debbie also does P.R. for the SLUG Queen. When she saw my tweet, she offered to set up a date.

So there I am with Slugasana, also known as Jerril Nilson, standing in the parking lot next to the free wall near Skinner’s Butte.

“This one’s from Forever 21, and this one’s from Hiron’s,” she says, selecting enormous, glittery rings from a little box and slipping them on her fingers. I wonder if she realizes that she’s about to play with paint.

The SLUG queen has been a local fixture since 1983, when some rogue city council members who wanted to name the Eugene Celebration the Slug Fest created a spoofy beauty pageant. Since then, each inaugural Queen, elected by the Old Queens, rides in the Eugene Celebration parade and does charity events all year.

“So am I going to be helping you make this thing?” Her Majesty asks, looking down at her finery.

“That was the plan,” I say, laughing nervously. I show her a photo of Napoleon Bonaparte Crossing the Alps and tell her we’ll be painting Queen Slugasana Crossing the Sidewalk.

Moments later, we’ve created a large white square on the wall with a silver frame around it. The Queen has taken to standing as far back from the wall as possible, her head averted as she sprays with her arm fully outstretched. She’s brought along her own personal paparazzi, a University of Oregon photojournalism student who’s hovering around us and snapping shot after shot.

“Is this the weirdest thing you’ve ever done as Queen?” I ask, trying to ignore the camera.

“I would say so,” she says after a pause. That surprises me, considering the fact that she’s already ridden atop sluggy parade floats and hosted gastropod-themed masquerade balls.

Our next task is to create a slug that is somewhat reminiscent of Napoleon’s noble steed. This is where Queen Slugasana’s secret identity comes in handy- by day, she’s a graphic designer with her own company. With one swoop of the can, she traces a perfect slug silhouette.

“I gave it a bust,” she says. “I keep forgetting slugs are hermaphrodites.”

After I fill in the slug with neon green paint and we add some finishing touches, our masterpiece is complete.

Voila! An art tribute to David and Napoleon:

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Queen Slugasana Crossing the Sidewalk

The piece is really more a comment on the Queen than it is on the painting that it mimics. She’s so colorful and quirky that it’s almost as if she’s stepped from another universe-perhaps an artist’s canvas. Her job is an extended act of performance art. This all begs the question, is art imitating life or is life imitating art?

Debbie Williamson, P.R. rep for the Schnitzer, showed up some time in the middle of our tagging adventure to take pictures and schmooze with the Queen. She’s currently running her own campaign to become next year’s Queen under the pseudonym Holly GoSlugly. Bribes are allowed in the SLUG Queen competition, and Debbie hands Slugasana a mysterious slip of paper (Perhaps a gardening gift certificate?) as we’re leaving.

Next, we’re headed out on the First Friday Art Walk, where I’ll be the Queen’s unofficial attendant. We swing through Modern and look at beautiful lamp art done by University students, stop in at Freudian Slip to check out some lingerie art and browse the White Lotus Gallery, which I blogged about yesterday.

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Flood; Maxwell Moriyama, Toshi Woudenberg and Justin Kaden; Modern

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Lingerie by Hanky Panky, Arrangement by Freudian Slip

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I Thought I Was a Princess, Beverly Soasy

Along the way, the Queen’s subjects bow to her and take pictures. “Does all the attention get overwhelming?” I ask as she does the royal wave and throws out “Hello Dawww-ling”s left and right.

“It’s what I signed up for,” she says regally.

After a look at Beverly Soasey‘s mixed-media assemblages in the Karin Clarke Gallery Annex, we head over to the Jacobs Gallery and finally hit up Opus VII. That’s where I run into Kaz Oveissi, prolific businessman and owner of Opus VII.

“What have you been up to?” he asks.

“Well, I just got an internship with the Jordan Schnitzer,” I say.

That’s right, dear readers (i.e. the most loyalest of people, who have actually read this far). I’ve been hiding something from you for a while now. Debbie Williamson not only offered me an interview with the SLUG Queen, she also offered me an internship to WRITE FOR THE SCHNITZER!!!

In other words, this thing that I’m doing for fun is now something I’m going to be doing for a REAL art museum! AAAA! I was tempted to call this post “How to get an internship in 30 days without applying for it,” but then I thought it might sound braggy.

I guess I’d just like to thank you for reading and responding to this crazy art experiment. You’ve given me the chance to rub elbows with awesome artists and talk to gallery owners like I really know something about art.

I know this sounds like a goodbye, and that’s because it is. At least for a while. I’m working at a camp this summer, a place where art is mostly made from crayons and finger paint. So until this September (when my position at the Schnitzer begins), it’s goodbye to the daily Polaroid pic!

That doesn’t mean I won’t be blogging, though. I’m either starting a project on art history or summer camp Americana. Any input? I’ll also be posting on this blog occasionally, if I find (or make) some great art.

Thanks for everything, and remember, art is everywhere!

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~Jordan the artventurer

P.S. I haven’t had enough time to edit the video. I’ll get it up ASAP and let ya know!

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1 comment
  1. Worth the wait Jordan! I am proud to have met and created art with such an energetic and knowledgeable future fabulous art critic and all around human being. Tagging was certainly one of the most unique experiences I’ve had as SLUG Queen, and I enjoyed every minute in all my slimery. I wish you all the best in your endeavors with JSMA and beyond! Keep up the good ooze! Queen Slugasana

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