Sell Your Fear Exhibit

UTPA, STC host ‘Sell Your Fear’ conference


By Marco Carbajal – PanAmerican Online
These days one cannot help but be assaulted daily via television and newspapers with images and stories that ignite anxiety. The economic downturn may make you lose your job and house and pay hundreds of dollars in gas money! There’s lead in your toys, salmonella in your peanut butter, melamine in your baby formula and terrorists waiting for you to let your guard down!!
Relax. While buying into fear has become an American way of life, now you can sell it.

UTPA and South Texas College partner to bring “Sell Your Fear,” a conference and graphic arts exhibit dealing with the broad aspects of fear in the 21st century and the role of marketing and selling fear via the arts touches all disciplines.

The event kicks off with a graphic exhibit open to the public starting March 26 at 6 p.m. at STC’s Pecan Campus art gallery and running through April 30. The conference will be held at UTPA on March 28-29 to coincide with FESTIBA, the yearly spring creative arts festival by the College of Arts and Humanities.

UTPA professors Robert P. Gilbert and David Martinez are coordinating the event along with STC professor and art gallery curator David Freeman.

Gilbert, associate professor of graphic design, came up with the “Sell Your Fear” theme after Freeman suggested they do an art show together. Freeman then had the idea of making an entire conference to go along with the art exhibit.

“It was originally going to be a graphic design conference on issues of morality in the design field and how it is used to create and perpetuate fear in politics and advertising,” Gilbert said. “Then we decided to open it up to people of all disciplines that speak about the idea of fear in America, so we want it to be very broad.”

Entries are encouraged from all disciplines and open to anyone anywhere in the world. Submissions eligible for acceptance should come in the form or posters and abstracts, which are written proposals for a presentation within the event’s theme.

Of the call for posters for the graphic exhibit, Gilbert says the concept is simple.

“We want people to create a piece of conceptual poster art that tries to sell their fear or make it seem desirable,” he said. “So it’s a little bit of a twisted kind of take on that.”

Gilbert adds that entrants should stick to political, national or socioeconomic fears rather than personal ones. The poster should have a title, imagery, sub-copy, be unmounted and unframed, and 24 by 36 inches in size. Each accepted work must be clearly labeled and arrive at STC postmarked no later than Feb. 26. Entries will then be juried and artists chosen for the exhibit will be notified March 9 via e-mail. Recognitions for best in show and first through third place will be awarded.

For entries in the abstract portion, written proposals should be submitted on a topic within the “Sell Your Fear” theme. Those chosen for the conference will then present research and papers, followed by a question-and-answer period and concluding with a panel discussion.

“We’re looking for speakers who want to talk about the whole idea of fear and negotiating fear,” said Martinez, assistant professor of graphic design. “We wanted to keep it pretty broad in terms of people who wanted to submit papers, or abstracts. So we’re very interested in multidisciplinary approaches and ideas here.”

Sofia K. Perez, an art gallery assistant at STC, said the theme definitely makes the conference unique and relevant to everyone.

“Fear is something that’s prevalent in our everyday existence,” she commented. “Whether it’s political or social, I think art is a form of expression and fear is such a strong emotion it can be expressed visually in an amazing way.”

Though this is the first time the conference will be held, coordinators are hopeful they can continue the event annually, with a different theme.

Entry forms are available at the UTPA art office and must be sent along with a $20 entry fee to South Texas College, C/O: Cashiers, P.O. Box 9701, McAllen, Texas, 78502. Both posters and abstracts must be shipped to Sofia K. Perez, South Texas College Library Art Gallery, 3201 W. Pecan Blvd. McAllen, Texas, 78501. For more information, contact STC at 872-3488.