Beyond the Side: Impostor Syndrome
By Stacey Rowe
Full disclosure: I have an interesting history with public restrooms and the ADDY Awards. The first year I attended, I fell asleep in the Convention Center bathroom for three hours. Since the building was locked, the custodians had to let me out to run across the street to the Radisson. I soon became known as the girl who fell asleep in the bathroom at the ADDYs. Additionally, I have a history of not winning anything aside from a few art awards during college and post-graduate school, weird gift baskets at networking events, and a Linus bike from St. Germain and Martha Stewart for some cocktail recipe I penned.
This past year, I finally won an ADDY for the letter I wrote in the 2016 Cohber FUEL calendar. Conveniently, I was in the restroom while it was being awarded. For those who aren't familiar, the letter I wrote was to my deceased mother. While winning this was not only unexpected and exciting, it also felt agonizing and strangely comical. And, with any major function involving over 500 people and libations, there were also myriad social dynamics going on that evening. Basically, the content and concept for this painting was knocking around my head for months. I wanted to paint something for this year's On the Side Expo that encompassed all the strange thoughts and feelings I had about winning the award and the entire evening, in general. After a fairly extensive pro-bono project involving a few people in the painting, I had a good amount of footage of the Rochester skyline. The hotel was situated adjacent to where this shoot took place. The nonnegotiable items became: the hotel room, the skyline, an orangutan security guard (Stan the 'Tan), myself on a toilet, and Snappy the turtle under the flip cup table (everybody loves Snappy). I assembled the cast of characters (those are stories for another time) and got down to business. The Wizard of Oz references evolved later as I started sketching and painting.
The motivation behind doing the print was fairly simple. The cost of materials and time put into an artwork of this scale and detail is fairly prohibitive for the average consumer. However, with a cast of twenty-five well-dressed people and a few cheeky animals, the piece piqued a lot of interest. People were asking for prints. It also made for great social media teasers in anticipation of On the Side's opening night. With Rich Brainerd being willing to shoot it and Cohber (Judi Gavin and Eric Webber, specifically) agreeing to print the piece in-kind, we were able to make the image more accessible to those featured in it, those who know people in it, and those who just enjoy the piece in general (fans of Snappy). The limited edition ensures we are not devaluing the actual piece.
As a both member of RoCo and RAF, it made sense to donate the sales to both organizations based on our collaborative efforts for the annual On the Side Expo and the opportunities they provide for artists and creative professionals in the Rochester community.
To learn about how you can purchase your own limited edition print of Stacey's Impostor Syndrome, visit Rochester Contemporary Art Center
Read more about Stacey's artistic history in our blog post from earlier this summer.