i have never seen a better radioactive spider in my life.
“everything you can imagine is real”
National Crayon Day on March 31 sparks fond memories of childhood creations in full color as we celebrate one of America’s most beloved toys, the crayon! Crayons delight our senses not just with their brilliant colors but also with their distinct smell, the feel of them in our hands, and for some kids, the waxy taste. With over 12 million crayons made daily, one is never far from reach. So, grab your box of 64 crayons, sharpener included, and get ready for some artistic expression and nostalgia.
Crayons have a colorful history. While hued wax molds have existed for centuries, the modern-day crayon got its start in the 1900s. Crayola crayons were introduced in 1903 by Binney & Smith as a safer and cheaper alternative to the art utensils in use at that time. Binney & Smith premiered their famous eight-pack of crayons with the color line-up: Black, Brown, Orange, Violet, Blue, Green, Red, and Yellow. This color mix, along with their names, remained unchanged for 45 years. Since then, many colors have been added, color names and packaging have changed, and color styles such as neon, metallics, and glitter have emerged. A few colors have even been retired from the color wheel, typically on March 31.
The Crayola crayon has a special place in the hearts of Americans and Americana. It was one of the original inductees into the National Toy Hall of Fame in November 1999. It is estimated the average American will have used 730 crayons by their 10th birthday. Even Mr. Rogers has had his hand in the history of crayons by molding the official 100 billionth crayon in February 1996 at the Crayola plant in Easton. Crayons not only add color to our lives, but they’ve also been held as an analogy for the colorfulness of the human race and our ability to live together in a diverse world. Crayons have been used for creating artwork for years.
Originally used for industrial purposes, their popularity soared when the brand Crayola was introduced. Crayons are used as a medium for creating artwork by children in schools mostly, but is also popular among adults who use it for creating contemporary art. Many households have a box of crayons stashed away somewhere, and today is the day it is pulled out. Everyone can enjoy crayons for creating vivid drawings.
BY THE NUMBERS
100 – the number of colors Crayola crayons are available in.
50 – the number of crayon colors retired by Crayola.
3 billion – the number of crayons produced by Crayola in a year.
18th – the ranking in terms of how familiar the crayon scent is to adults.
1962 – the year when Crayola changed the name of their crayon ‘Flesh’ to ‘Peach.’
15 feet – the length of the world’s biggest crayon.
223 billion – the number of Crayola crayons produced to date.
730 – the number of crayons used by the average kid by the age of 10.
“we could learn a lot from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, while others bright, some have weird names, but they all have learned to live together in the same box.”
-Robert Fulghum, american author
credits: national days
now is this isn’t a sure sign of spring, i don’t know what is…
“spring makes its own statement,
so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of his instruments,
not the composer.”
Art credit: Margaret Tarrant – The Fairy Troupe / Spring’s Flowery Cloak. Circa 1920s painting. A female sprite with a blue cloak shepherds tiny fairies and elves, each carrying a spring flower, through the undergrowth. Published by the Medici Society.
when someone in our class
got injured while playing outside
the kinder quickly sprang into action
creating art and cards for their friend
23 pieces of art from 14 children
given to her to know she was cared about
a quiet smile was her gift back to them.
“making art is like giving a gift: evidence of your spirit and that you are here.”
– paddy mitchell
not my trout, but an artist who creates in my style
a few or five decades back
in my elementary school years
i undertook a project that i loved
comprehensive non-fiction report
covering a wide swath of the animal kingdom
involving research, factual write-ups, and illustrations.
i worked on this tirelessly
from the only source i used for everything
our set of encyclopedias
(no google to be found)
all was going well
until i came to the rainbow trout
with no illustration provided
i used my imagination
creating my own vision
of what a rainbow trout might look like
a beautiful striped fish
with every color of the rainbow
spanning across its shiny and scaly skin
the final piece in my big report complete
put it all in my new yellow folder
decorated the cover
proudly turning it in
waiting for my teacher’s response
she perused our reports
while we had silent reading time
then called me up to her desk
with the hugest of smiles on her face
my report open to the rainbow trout page
telling me that she was going to give me an a+
she said she could see
i was truly a creative
even more than a scientist
that both were good things to be
and she was right.
“the fish was a twelve inch rainbow trout with a huge hump on its back – a hunchback trout.”
popcorn is art and one of my favorite snacks
(though it’s no flamin’ hot cheetos!),
something to consider on national popcorn day.
Raining Popcorn (2001) is a piece commissioned by the Faulconer Gallery of the Grinnell College in Iowa. The commission would take artist, Sandy Skoglund many months to complete. In Skoglund’s art practice, the conceptual subject matter works in conjunction with the physical materials she uses, drawing on historical references, and instilling them with psychologically complex meaning.
Produced in 2001, just before the September 11 attacks, Raining Popcorn references the complex roots of American contemporary culture and overconsumption. The unifying subject throughout the piece is popcorn, so pronounced and repetitive it replaces nature. The popcorn becomes an all-encompassing reality, lining the walls, the floors, the subjects, and alas growing from trees. This obsessive environment constructed by Skoglund derives from the artist’s desire to combine sculptures of animals, live humans, and nature into a space that involves thought and play, as part research and part recreation.
The abundance of Popcorn acts as a reflection of the cultural environment, being noisy, excessive, universal, and part of popular culture. Currently, Americans eat 13 billion quarts of Popcorn a year, produced mostly in the heartland of America, from Illinois to Ohio. The piece is a response to memories and experiences Skoglund felt as a graduate student in Iowa.
The painstakingly handcrafted quality of the endless popcorn creates a fantasy landscape, one that raises questions about climate issues and our surrounding environment, as well as fantasy and reality. In Raining Popcorn, Skoglund’s objects and composite staging have a base in truth; they are not a product of photoshop or digital manipulation. It is critical for the artist that the photographs evidence something genuine. The constructions are explicitly staged to be photographed from one unique viewpoint.
“americans love popcorn, and their love doesn’t quit.”
Credits: Sandy Skoglund, Raining Popcorn – Holden Luntz Gallery