Art of the State 2014: Drawing inspiration from small, plastic skulls and other muses

Today's guest blogger is Sean Adkins, PHMC's new Information Specialist. Among his other duties, Sean will be attending events and programs on the Trails of History and plans to live-Tweet and blog about his visits. So you'll be hearing more from him on Trailheads in the future. Welcome, Sean!

Before Philadelphia artist Michael Pavol could start painting his award-winning "Josie,"  the work of art needed a subject...and a small, plastic skull.  

Pavol's inspiration came in the form of a young girl who had little interest in the artist, his camera or his vision for the canvas. 

The 2014 Art of the State award winner struggled to occupy the girl long enough so that his camera could capture the right image.  

During the shoot, the girl stumbled upon a small, plastic skull living among the debris strewn about the artist's studio.  

The skull, most likely a toy forgotten in the studio by Pavol's son, became the distraction Pavol had been seeking.  Soon, both the artist and his subject were engaged in a lively discussion about the skull.  

"At some point, she stopped paying attention to the skull and looked at the camera," Pavol said the night he took home a third-place painting award.  

Art fans take in the Art of the State 2014 gallery 
Pavol was one of 21 artists honored June 21 by Art of the State.  

Aside from chatting with Pavol about the origins of his "Josie,"  I spent most of the awards reception mingling with area artists, attempting to decipher the meaning behind various works.  

Michael Brolly of Bethlehem rarely ventured far from his first-place sculpture, "Glass Piece."

The few times he did manage to make it a few steps, curious art fans would call him back, inquiring how such a sculpture came into being.  

Others, such as Lauren Lindsay, 12, and Martine Glena, 13, attended the annual event not to show off their creation, but to view themselves immortalized on canvas. The two girls were the subject of the painting, "The Tablet."

"I'm going to text my friends and tell them how famous we are," Lindsay said.

The Art of the State exhibit will be open to the public through Sept. 14 at The State Museum of Pennsylvania.


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