Minnesota artist’s work will be turned into fashion — and sent to the moon – Bemidji Pioneer

DULUTH — “Once Upon a Childhood,” a 2020 oil painting by Duluth artist Kelly Schamberger, has won a San Diego Fashion Week award in international competition. As a result, the image of the model ship will not only be shown in New York, but will serve as inspiration for original fashion clothes and — wait for it — sent to the moon.

Oil painting of a wooden model ship with three masts and rigging, sitting on what appears to be blue cloth suggesting waves.  The background is dark, with a few starry yellow lights scattered throughout.

“Once Upon a Childhood,” 2020 oil on canvas by Duluth artist Kelly Schamberger.

Contributed / Mitch Rossow Fine Art Photography

I still can’t believe it, Schamberger said. “People spend their lives trying to be recognized in this competition.” The competition is sponsored by New Jersey’s Art Renewal Center, an organization that Schamberger describes as “the foremost authority (and) promoter of contemporary realist artists.”

The 16th international competition of the ARC Salon involves a complex selection of several thousand entries. There are dozens of award categories, with different prizes and numbers of winners. Schamberger’s piece was one of 10 honored by San Diego Fashion Week, which will commission a designer (the artist doesn’t know who yet) to create an outfit inspired by the painting. The suit will be modeled alongside the artwork during the July exhibition at Sotheby’s in New York.

Schamberger’s painting will also be one of 221 winning entries featured in a set of time capsules going into space later this year. As explained on the contest website: “The artwork will be laser-etched onto nickel microfiche and/or digitized onto terabyte memory cards and sealed in a time capsule on the SpaceX-launched Griffin lunar probe and placed on the Moon forever .”

“It’s kind of expensive to get in. I paid $275,” Schamberger said. “Literally the only reason I signed up this year is because they said, ‘Oh, by the way, anyone who wins an award or an honorable mention is going to go in this time capsule to the moon.'”

The artist said it was a coincidence that her port city would be represented on the moon by a nautical painting. She’s just “really proud of that piece,” Schamberger said of the wooden model painting made by her late, beloved uncle, William Rager.

Although Schamberger is fascinated by space, she said, she has never actually painted a spacecraft or celestial object. “I primarily paint from life,” she said, “and I don’t really have a good way of seeing … that far.”

Although Schamberger will travel to New York to see the exhibit at Sotheby’s, she has not yet received an invitation to accompany her art to the moon.

“I will absolutely volunteer,” she said, “to be the first artist to be shot into space to draw or paint a picture of Earth.”

Practically, the color already comes in tubes.

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