In 2011, on the side of the Polaris Building in Fairbanks hung a four-story sign that read, “Looking for love again.” Two chalkboards at street level invited passers-by to share their memories of the building and hopes for its future.
This art project, “Looking for Love Again,” was the brainchild of artist Candy Chang, commissioned by the Alaska Design Forum.
Candy Chang is the guest juror for this year’s “No Big Heads” art competition.
“No Big Heads” is an annual competition in which students and the public submit self-portraits no larger than 12 inches cubed. That year’s guest juror then judges the portraits.
“(Chang) uses art to transform public spaces, to inspire people, to have people think about their own lives,” said Mike McCormick, assistant director of Student Activities.
Chang holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture, a bachelor’s of fine arts in graphic design and a master’s degree in urban planning.
According to her website, she has put on art projects in locations from New Orleans to Hong Kong.
Her piece entitled “Before I Die,” which she created after losing a loved one, has been recreated in 25 languages in over 60 countries.
“She’s an inspiring person,” said McCormick. “She sees art as this thing that can be transformative.”
In 2012, Chang put on a public art show in Las Vegas called “Confessions,” where people anonymously wrote secrets on cards that were hung on the wall. Over 1,500 confessions were displayed on the walls by the end of opening night.
In addition to her art projects, she speaks internationally and her TED talk, “Before I Die I Want To…” has been viewed over two million times.
“We wanted to go somewhere more abstract,” said student gallery manager Tess Forstner, “(so) we went with Candy Chang to get more of a variety.”
As a guest juror, Chang will judge the submitted pieces, meet with art faculty and students, teach an urban design class and give a lecture at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 30 in the Wendy Williamson Auditorium.
No Big Heads opens Oct. 31 in the Student Union Gallery and runs until Nov. 15. Submissions are no longer being accepted.