With a record number of attendees and exhibitors there are several things you likely missed at this year’s Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. Among them are several unique expressions of art collected and curated by the creative connector Devaki Murch. Apart from all the cool equipment clothing and footwear on display in Salt Lake City over the weekend there was an exquisite array of original creations available for viewing and purchase. In an installation of the adventure inspired works of industry artists from across the country, show attendees were treated to a rare exhibit of paintings and sculptures that reflect the passion and vision that make the business of outdoor recreation possible.
Not easily distracted from the frantic pace of back-to-back sales appointments most show-goers passed the east wall of the Salt Palace main floor without looking up. But those with the patience and presence of mind to slow down and look were rewarded with a precious opportunity to gaze into minds of artists who are also adventurers. Called OR Art the gallery showcased talents like Jeremy Collins and Renan Ozturk, painters whose work is derived from their travels around the world as climbers.
But in addition to introducing the outdoor industry to beautiful works for viewing pleasure Murch said her goal is to bring artists and businesses together for their mutual benefit.
“What I’m specifically looking for is artists that are interested in doing commercial work and are able to deliver,” she said. “And the way that we’re going to do that is to create different venues to showcase their work at Outdoor Retailer.”
In the future Murch said she hopes to create several collections on the show floor that welcome the work of aspiring artists currently enrolled or newly graduated from design school. She aims to provide opportunities for students to demonstrate their skills in original works they contribute or pieces commissioned by sponsoring exhibitors. Ultimately Murch wants to establish relationships between the art community and product manufactures in order to create a network of artists as a new resource of potential work.
“Basically I am an artist headhunter,” she said. “I’m the scout and recruiting all this talent into the industry in the effort to liven up our stagnant designs.”
By reaching out to design schools and working artists Murch said she wants to make it possible for companies to crowd source the conception of new styles and pump a different kind of energy into the creativity stream.
“We’re not looking to be competitive with other creative and design teams,” Murch said. “We’re looking to collaborate with them.”
The program she hopes to establish will also bring in select students to walk the show floor and meet exhibitors with whom they feel they have a fit. As part of Outdoor Retailer in the future Murch wants artists to have the chance to make their case for why they should do design work for their favorite companies. And with a big boost of fresh ideas, enthusiasm and vision the industry can certainly tap into these creative resources to carry the latest product design and development to new heights. ~JEM
Coverage of the 2011 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market is made possible with the support of Knupp, Watson & Wallman