Monday, September 6, 2010

Tuesday Blue Ribbon: Suzy Hobbs of PopAtomic Studios


A week ago, I started a new feature on this blog. Monday Blue Ribbon, People Making a Difference to Nuclear. My idea is to honor people who are making a difference to nuclear power. It's easy enough to "cover" only the negative. I think: I admire what that person is doing. Then I don't bother to write about it.

Monday Blue Ribbon is my way of giving credit to those who inspire me. I hope this feature inspires others, and helps my readers start their week in an upbeat manner. However, for me, it really comes down to gratitude.

(Yes. I know the feature is running on Tuesday this week. That's because Monday was a holiday.)

Suzy Hobbs, Art, and Reshaping the Vision of Atomic Energy

When I first heard of PopAtomic Studios, back in February of this year, the website did not include the name of the artist. The site had strong art showing nuclear in a positive light, but no named artist. As Rod Adams noted in a February blog post about PopAtomic, this is a quote from her website at the time:

I currently live in an aggressively liberal city and have lefty leanings myself aside from this one issue. That said, the anti-nuclear sentiment in my community makes this experiment particularly challenging. If you know who I am please do not mention my personal info.......Lord knows I don’t want any trouble.

Out of the Closet and Into the Limelight

After a month or two, though, Suzy Hobbs came out of hiding, and began to acknowledge and grow PopAtomic Studios. It is still a small place, and the artists haven't given up their day jobs yet, but what a change there has been in a few months!

  • There are five or six artists contributing to the Studio at any time. Several are listed on PopAtomic's Biography page. Mel Chin, conceptual artist who specializes in public installations and earthworks, is one of Suzy's mentors and will contribute to PopAtomics next exhibit. Dawn Dalto is teaching Suzy slip-casting techniques for a sculpture project involving graphite from the original Chicago Pile 1 reactor. Suzy informs me that these sculptures will be available to order next month.
  • The studio has an Etsy shop on-line, with T-shirts and tote bags for sale. The shop even includes some underwear with the PopAtomic logo. This may be a product for people who want to wear a pro-nuclear logo, but not visibly. People who don't want any trouble?
  • PopAtomic designs posters, ads, and logos. The most recent poster, Green Footprint, is shown below. Other posters are shown on their website.
  • The studio looks forward to bigger art, including public installation art, such as Mel Chin has built. Among other things, Suzy hopes to paint some cooling towers. Her ideas for the Bellefonte Station cooling towers are shown above. These colors were inspired by Mark Rothko and Color Field painting.
  • The PopAtomic studio is organizing as a not-for-profit, with a very distinguished board of advisers.
  • Suzy has brought Atomic Art outreach into the schools with great success. I learned a great deal about how to get people engaged with nuclear in her blog post Art Based Nuclear Outreach Proves Successful.
  • Suzy recently was invited to visit Idaho National Laboratories. This visit will undoubtedly lead to more art and more contracts in the near future.
  • PopAtomic Studios has a beautiful website which is always worth exploring. For example, I just discovered the blog ChickenFist (Blue Collar Art) on the blogroll.



Suzy Hobbs as an Inspiration

I urge you all to visit the PopAtomic Etsy store and buy something, or order your next logo or website banner from PopAtomic.

However, as I wrote this, I realized that the list above felt a little like a resume. PopAtomic does this, PopAtomic does that. That's not enough. I have to answer the question: "Why does PopAtomic inspire me so much?"

Suzy Hobbs and PopAtomic inspire me because they carry the pro-nuclear message in an entirely new way, an artist's way. The bright colors themselves are part and parcel of the message.

The problem with me is that I am geeky to the core. Many of the other pro-nuclear bloggers are the same. We honestly think we can sway people with facts and numbers. Suzy Hobbs and PopAtomic Studios reminds me that it takes more than numbers to persuade people. It takes art, and it takes heart.

Thank you, Suzy Hobbs!

All images on this post are copyright to Suzy Hobbs of PopAtomic Studios, and used with permission. Contact Ms. Hobbs through PopAtomic if you seek permission to use these images.

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

Thank you so much for the Blue Ribbon! It is a huge honor! And the admiration is certainly mutual- your efforts to reach out from inside the industry to communicate with the public are inspiring. Thank you again Meredith, we all really appreciate your support!