Skate parks, slides, and telescopes

Updated: Jan 25

Come frolick amongst the winners of the outdoor gallery contest

It’s getting chilly outside, so it’s high time we all retreated indoors. Pop on a jumper, grab a mug of cocoa, and come sit by the fire - the fire of hot, hot creation.

But wait! To sit by the fire of hot hot creation you’ll need to go outside again because for the latest contest we invited everyone to create open-air exhibits. The seven winners already have their upload codes, so without further ado: let’s dive in and get toasty.

Art Dinner: The Slums

That artiverse has treated me to many a strange sight, but few can compete with that of a statue majestically soaring above two others while riding a skateboard. The ramps are made from doors, and the scene is a thing of beauty. It’s also very much in keeping with the style of The Finsbury Park Deltics, whose pop-culture subversions surround The Slums, seeking to “parody mass culture by exaggerating formal aspects inherent in our society”.

Think Godzilla-sized women striding over cities in their underwear, and celebrities with eyes of disturbing, digitally bulbous proportions.

It all feels vaguely obscene, and the Slums serve as an admirably messy reflection. A largely featureless half-pipe dominates much of the space while refusing to apologise about it. Artworks are dotted beneath and around that central construction, as well as along weathered-looking factory walls. One corner’s devoted to a deliberately glitching dice, aberrantly fizzing between states, while another corner shows off a splash of appropriately abrasive green meadow.

Art Dinner told me he built the whole thing in one sitting, with a burst of inspiration that lasted four hours. Four hours well spent, I’d say.

Stars assigned to the spiritual Nova's Paths

Segalla’s gallery is either a snapshot from an alien spaceship or the inside of one of Zach Logan’s paintings. Logan works with fractals, symmetry, and swirling geometric shapes - so Segalla’s followed his lead. He’s built a neon temple of purple, with far more space dedicated to electric mosaics and upside down pillars than the artwork he used for inspiration. It works, though, flooding your vision with purple hues while leaving enough empty space to avoid any sense of feeling cramped or overwhelmed.

Much of that space is dominated by a layered, mesh-like pattern behind a glass wall. It’s cleverly built around reflections from all those neon lights, which are then even more cleverly echoed through the creative use of floating punctuation. It’s a trick Sealla came up with himself, he tells me, while aiming “to push the tools that OWW has to the limit.”

I was struck by the similarities with Segalla’s last winning entry, with its ample use of symmetry and sci-fi vibes. In fact, I was struck enough to ask him about it, and I’m glad I did:

I am attracted to futurism because at a certain level it helps you develop creativity, simply forcing your mind to generate a starting point entirely from scratch. In that case, there is no true guidance or expectations, the only limit being your imagination.”

The Hubble