Bland Hoke's Snow Designs Pop-Up in The Center Park

Mar 19, 2019 by Anne Bradley

Jackson, WY – While the rest of town was digging out from record-breaking snowfall this winter, Jackson artist, Bland Hoke, was conceptualizing his latest public art experiment. Bland pitched his new idea for ephemeral snow designs during Jackson Hole Public Art’s Moonshot 5x5 on January 15, a second-annual event held in The Center Theater Lobby where local creatives presented one unique public art concept using 5 slides presented in 5 minutes. Bland’s SnowCircles are inspired by the work of cartographer-turned-artist, Simon Beck.

Bland’s Moonshot concept quickly made its way to Oona Doherty, Creative Initiatives Director at Center for the Arts. At the time, Oona was searching for new ways to activate Town Enclosure pavilion (Carney Logan Burke Architects and Jackson Hole Public Art) in The Center Park in the wintertime, and Bland’s concept was an ideal fit for the location. Within a few weeks, Doherty, on behalf of The Center, commissioned Bland and his design team, Lewis Smirl and Lucas Ayoub, to create a site-specific snow art installation in the park and on the roof of the facility. “The snow designs are a conversation between the designers with The Center Campus, a playful way to interact with the space and draw attention to the campus in a spontaneous, surprising and temporary way,” remarked Doherty.

Timing was an important element in the project given the extreme winter weather conditions. Nevertheless, the design team adapted quickly to the ever-changing snowpack and nonstop snowfall.

“When the snow pack changed from powder to a dense crust layer, we decided to take advantage of this material to make larger shadows using vertical elements. We decided to extend the Town Enclosure outwards. For the final experiment we are excited to work with some other folks to execute an idea that requires participants to transform the snow canvas,” Hoke noted.

SnowCircles at Center for the Arts by Bland Hoke Lewis Smirl and Lucas Ayoub from TheCenterJH on Vimeo.

The SnowCircles project evolved daily and even hourly at times, much like a science experiment. “I love working with snow art because it’s a different way to interface with the copious resource that we get to "enjoy" for 6 plus months of the year. It is a great exercise in communication working with other artists, and being able to start with an idea and morph the end design to accommodate the different snow conditions, or shadow lines, or angle of the sun,” Smirl commented.

Lucas Ayoub documented the entire artistic process with a drone knowing that the artwork would likely disappear overnight as the next big storm front rolled in. "Drone access for filmography has reshaped our ability to share stories, and in the case of SnowCircles, preserve the tapestry," said Ayoub.

Hoke’s vision for SnowCircles had all the elements The Center needed to enhance and involve the community with both Town Enclosure and the surrounding park, which have been blanketed in snow since mid-November. “As a community building exercise, it offers a lot of opportunity, with people walking by and being curious, to folks stumbling on the art later and realizing that there is some intention and creativity behind what might look like destruction or random tracks is fun,” Smirl said.

Starting in mid-April, Ayoub’s drone video documentation of the SnowCircles project will be on view The Center Theater Gallery.


ABOUT BLAND HOKE

Contrary to what his name suggests, Bland Hoke is an exciting young designer on a global mission to inspire. Combining a unique background in public art with a love of the outdoors and cutting edge urban design, Bland collaborates with other creatives and stakeholders to bring forth fresh solutions and unexpected possibilities. Bland is the Staff Artist at Jackson Hole Public Art, and is the manager of Bland Design LLC. His process is a direct response to places and people, marked by a true understanding of contemporary design and a signature resourcefulness, courtesy of his Western roots.

ABOUT TOWN ENCLOSURE PAVILION

Jackson Hole Public Art proposed the concept of a pavilion as both a dramatic sculpture and an accessible venue to activate The Center Park as the 2018 Creative in Residence. This residency provides support and space to highlight an interdisciplinary large-scale creative endeavor, which results in an impactful and inspiring end product. Jackson Hole Public Art subsequently issued the call for artists and facilitated a blind selection process. Carney Logan Burke Architects’ Town Enclosure design was selected and JH Public Art oversaw the entire fabrication and installation of the project.

ABOUT CENTER FOR THE ARTS

Center for the Arts (“The Center”) is a creative community that houses both a world-class 500-seat theater in the Performing Arts Pavilion and 19 independent Resident nonprofit organizations in the Arts and Education Pavilion. Working with each other and with The Center, these dynamic nonprofit organizations create one of the most vibrant arts districts of any town in the country.

SnowCircles by BlandDesign

SnowCircles (March 2019) by BlandDesign

SnowCircles Aerial View by BlandDesign



photo credit: Lucas Ayoub (@lookatook)

Artists: @blandhoke & @andlewissmirltoo
Filmmaker: @lookatook
Music: @wyotheband