The Edmond Sun

April 29, 2014

Artistic talent resides throughout Oklahoma

William F. O'Brien
Special to The Sun

ENID — When the mysterious British street artist Banksy came to New York City recently, people filled the streets of the Big Apple to find the work he had done on sidewalks and buildings. As documented in the New York Times, they found one of his creations in Manhattan covered in plexiglass as a way to preserve it. In a rough section of Brooklyn, young people were charging a fee to gain access to an image he had left on a building there.

On the evening of April 4, people in Enid converged on that community’s downtown area in a similar manner to find hidden art works that were done on vinyl records that were placed there by the Main Street Enid organization for the event known as “Free Art Friday.” The attendees were allowed to keep the art that they found.

It was said of the late Andy Warhol that he saw beauty and art in everyday life and that his early images of things such as brillo pads and boxes of Tide detergent reflected that perception on his part.

Enid artist Mike Sutherland sees the possibility of art in materials such as masking tape and the work he created for the event. It shows his mastery of a medium that few other artists have ventured into according to Kelly Tompkins of the Enid Main Street Association.

Sutherland had previously memorialized a store in that community in masking tape — Kress’s — that had been demolished to make way for a new hotel. He also constructed several characters that were similar to the creations that are found in Tim Burton movies such as “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

He also created a likeness of Elvis Presley that was attached to a record that had been  painted white. Another artist whose work was featured, Paul Stone, works primarily in vinyl. His contributions included images of Johnny Cash and Santana and a human eye endowed with eagle’s wings.

Stone also built a small carousel out of vinyl that looked metallic. An image of what appeared to be a West African facemask was imposed on a record by Enid artist Cammeron Kaiser.

Tompkins reports that there was a festive atmosphere at the gathering as strolling musicians serenaded the attendees and those who found art showing what they had with one another and rejoicing in their good fortune in locating it.  

The children who were present were entranced by two characters from the recent Disney film “Frozen” who were also in attendance.

Much of the art that was featured at the event can be seen on the website maintained by the Enid Main Street Association and are a vivid reminder of the artistic talent that can be found in parts of Oklahoma besides Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

It would not be surprising if in time some of the work done by artists in Enid makes its way to art galleries in Dallas and other major cities.

William F. O’Brien is an Oklahoma City attorney.