No Big Heads, open this week

For the past 27 years, small packages from around the country have been sent to UAA’s campus and displayed for two weeks. Inside of those packages are self- portraits under one square foot in dimension.

Those artworks then become part of UAA’s annual No Big Heads self-portrait competition and exhibition, opening this week in the UAA Student Union Gallery.

“This year we have a couple middle schoolers, and we have more out-of-state submissions than ever before,” said Tess Forstner, Student Union Gallery manager.

According to Forstner, the reason why the show has size limitations is to make non-local submissions more cost-efficient to ship.

The top award for participating artists is $1,000 for Best of Show and a summer 2013 solo exhibit at the UAA Student Union Gallery. An additional total of $1,000 will also be given out through various runner-up awards.

David Kassan, Brooklyn portrait artist, is the guest judge for this year. He has shown his work and lectured in several continents across the globe.

There are no style guidelines for the show, so Kassan’s award selections will be a surprise to all.

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“Some people do it by originality. Some people do it by technique,” said Forstner on how the guest judge determines the awards each year. “Other people do it by how it relates to how they paint — so he might judge because he’s a realist portrait artist, how accurate it is, but some people also like to look at how abstract it is, so there’s no telling how he’ll pick.”

Mike McCormick, assistant director of Student Activies, esteems No Big Heads as a UAA tradition. “It’s one of the most highly-regarded annual shows in Alaska,” he said.

The opening reception for No Big Heads will be today, Oct. 23, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Student Union Gallery, and the award ceremony for participating artists will be d at 5:30 p.m.

An additional midday reception will be held in the same location Thursday 1:30-3 p.m.

No Big Heads will be displayed from Oct. 23 to Nov. 6. The gallery is open for viewing Monday- Thursdays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Fridays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.