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The Color Condition: Make Art a Public Party

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Meet the founders of The Color Condition and learn how their art installations make a colorful impact.

By Chelsea Pribble

With a gust of wind, tethered streamers whirl and whip, performing a colorful dance that never ends. With the world as its coloring book, The Color Condition, founded by Sunny Sliger and Marianne Newsom, knows no bounds. Anchored by their love and knowledge of textiles and fine art, they aim to colorfully connect communities through jaw-dropping streamer installations in unexpected spaces. From art-inspired flamboyant hats and wings to the work they feature at art galleries, parks and public places, weddings and birthdays, the materials they use are greatly affected by the conditions they’re in.

Chasing rainbows

Once in a blue moon, you get the benefit of having your future business partner as part of your water-skiing team. With respective degrees in textiles and fine art, Newsom offered to help Sliger with costumes for their water-ski show. Bonding over pattern, movement, texture and color, a complementary partnership took root.

In 2010, after their first four-panel installation, Sliger and Newsom never guessed the pigments of their imaginations would become a full-time gig.

“The turning point was when Klyde Warren Park [in Dallas]was finished. All of the places in the arts district wanted to do a big kickoff for the grand opening of the park. A friend who worked at the Nasher [Sculpture Center] mentioned our names to do something celebratory in the garden,” Sliger recalls. “That was really our first big break. We put up a bunch of pieces we call ‘swag’ in the trees and offered a group activity. We were like, ‘Are people going to get into this?’ We weren’t sure because we hadn’t done any interactive things like that before. Sure enough, adults and kids alike went bonkers over it.”

Tickled pink by the public’s response and eventual high demand for their installations, the pair made a unanimous decision to quit their jobs and leap into The Color Condition.

Rolling out the red streamers

The Color Condition streamers are made of tablecloths, shower curtains and paint dropcloths. With durability and
flexibility, they withstand harsh weather conditions and are affected by wind and sunlight. In public spaces, they invite people to step into the composition, to seek shade beneath streamer canopies, to touch them or chase a loose strand. Unlike a painting, the composition moves and changes.

Newsom and Sliger are driven to make their work accessible. Upon arriving at a site, they look at how people are or aren’t interacting with a space and seek to add function and intrigue to attract newcomers.

 “It engages people,” Newsom says. “It sparks curiosity. Curiosity keeps us alive as humans. You have to continually be curious in order to be present, to explore and keep your mind going. That’s what art can do in a public space.”

A rose-colored future 

From speaking at TED Talks to installing their work at festivals like Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits Music Festival to offering streamer workshops for youth at The Great Create, Sliger and Newsom are unstoppable. With a recent move to Austin, they hope to grow in the Austin community, but also have their sights set on conquering the world.

“We’ll keep our fingers crossed,” Newsom says. “There is this big performance-art festival in Australia. We would do this facade of an old powerhouse right on the river in Brisbane. The river is the lifeboat of the city and so we’re like, ‘How can we engage that?’ ”

Among the many events and projects on their color wheel this year, they will host a collegiate workshop at Temple College for sculpture students. Sliger and Newsom also dream of participating in larger collaborations with dance and theater communities, integrating costumes and installations. Ultimately, the duo is excited to continue learning about each other and exploring uncharted possibilities.

“We have an interest to keep making and pushing the materials,” Sliger says, “and exploring all of the different shapes and structures the streamers can go on.”

 

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