This being the inaugural year of the Bloomsday art contest, none of us were sure how it would go. Were there artists out there who would be inspired to use Ulysses as the basis for some art? Well, the answer is yes, I said yes, there are, yes.
Our first prize winner is Mike Sgier, a cartoonist, illustrator and printmaker based in Philadelphia. He was born and raised outside of Denver, Colorado and received a BFA from Creighton University, and an MFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. His current body of work explores characters and stories in a fantasy world, and illustrations of pop culture subjects. Mike says he first read Ulysses when he was in college and the novel has been with him ever since. He explains that “the world that Joyce created, as well as the deep, flawed, and varied characters that populate the story, has been inspirational to me personally and creatively. This contest brought an opportunity to bring some of Joyce’s characters to life in my own way, and to express their connection to Leopold Bloom, the Odysseus of Dublin, 1904.”
Our second prize winner is Elizabeth Parker with her piece entitled “Dublin Labyrinth.” Elizabeth is a visual artist and art-educator from Massachusetts. Her mixed-media work combines painting, drawing, and collage, and is usually inspired and composed by organic processes of growth and decay, architectural structures as both blue-print and ruin, and the repetitive emergence/disappearance of fragmentary symbols and text. As an avid reader, she often finds artistic inspiration through the imagery and ideas within poetry and literature. She says that her usual artistic process found its perfect challenge and inspiration in the Rosenbach’s call for art inspired by James Joyce’s Ulysses.
Elizabeth explains that “as I examined the manuscript, written and revised by Joyce’s hand, I saw it as a depiction of the artistic journey in process, and was inspired to incorporate the pages into my artwork. I had read many passages from the novel, finding that it was potent for the imagination. Within its vastness, even a single line could spur me to endless explorations.” She goes on to say that one line in particular “guided me to create a piece evoking a labyrinthine journey through symbols and structures lost, transformed, and rediscovered over and over as the quest to/from the center is made.”
‘Every life is in many days. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love, but always meeting ourselves.’
Well said James! We hope that you all meet yourselves within the pages of Ulysses. Happy Bloomsday!
We look forward to “seeing” you all during our Virtual Bloomsday celebration on June 16.