DULUTH – “As a Child,” a 2020 oil painting by Duluth artist Kelly Shamberger, has won an international award at Fashion Week San Diego. As a result, the image of a model ship is not only seen in New York, it serves as an inspiration for an original coat of arms and – wait for it – is sent to the moon.
“I still can’t believe it,” said Shamberger, reached by phone Tuesday. “People spend their lives trying to be recognized in this race.” The competition is under the auspices of the New Jersey Art Renewal Center, an organization Shamberger describes as “the leading authority (on and) promoter of contemporary real artists.”
The 16th International ARC Salon Competition included a complex manipulation of several thousand submissions. There are dozens of award categories with different prizes and numbers of winners. Shamberger’s piece was one of 10 honored at San Diego Fashion Week, which commissions a designer (who the artist has yet to identify) to create a garment inspired by the painting. The dress, along with the artwork, will be featured in a Sotheby’s exhibit in New York City in July.
Schaumberger’s painting will be one of 221 winning pieces represented in time capsules headed for space later this year. As the contest website explains: “Drawings will be laser etched onto nickel microfiche and/or digitized onto terabyte memory cards and placed inside a time capsule launched by SpaceX and placed on the Moon.”
“It’s very expensive to get in. I paid $275,” Shamberger said. “Literally, the only reason I got into this year was because they were like, ‘Oh, by the way, anyone who gets an award or an honor is going to have a capsule go to the moon this time.'”
The artist, who can see a selection of her work at St. Paul’s Framework Gallery from Saturday through March 4, says it’s a coincidence that the seaport city is represented on the moon at sea. She’s just “really proud of that piece,” Shamberger said of the wooden model painting built by her late, beloved uncle, William Rager.
Shemberger says that although she is fascinated by space, she has never drawn a spaceship or anything in the sky. “I mainly paint from life,” she says, “and I don’t have a good way of seeing … until now.”
When Shamberger went to New York to see the Sotheby’s exhibit, she had yet to receive an invitation to follow her art to the moon.
“To be the first artist to be shot into space to paint or paint a picture of Earth entirely voluntarily,” she said.
Conveniently, the color already comes in tubes.