'Balloonhead' art piece is topic of film screening

DOWNEY - This Sunday, Nov. 18, the Downey Arts Coalition will host a film screening about the art installations of local artist Polaris Castillo at the Epic Lounge, 8239 2nd Street in Downey. The event is free, with a reception at 6 p.m., and the documentary showing at 7 p.m.

Polaris's signature installation, "Balloonhead," is a formally dressed mannequin with a bouquet of balloons where his head should be. According to the artist, the balloons represent "freedom and that creative intensity inside of us that should be exploited, but is often shunned and denied."

The artist says that he originally explored this concept through his drawing and painting, but then was inspired to present the figure as a three-dimensional mannequin for an art show. Polaris will often position the figure, sitting or standing, in a public place, and then withdraw to film people's reaction and interaction.

One of his goals as an artist is to help people "see the story of the ordinary becoming extraordinary and be inspired by it."

His documentary, which he directed and edited, highlights people's interaction and response to this whimsical figure. Balloonhead prompts the expected laughter and picture-taking, but Polaris said he was surprised at how often people will pose for a photo with their own head in the space where the mannequin's head should be.

Balloonhead does require careful monitoring for unexpected responses. One time, according to Polaris, a policeman put her ear to the mannequin's chest, thinking that it represented a potential danger. Polaris quickly came forward and said the woman relaxed and enjoyed the work after his explanation.

Polaris said he has enjoyed drawing and creating ever since he can remember, and favors mixed media such as watercolor and graphite pencil. He is also studying digital film making.

The artist's professional name, Polaris, refers to the North Star, and it stems from his interest in outer space. Other themes in his artwork also reflect this interest.

In addition to the film screening and art display this Sunday, limited edition drawings will be available for sale.

For further information about this show and other events, go to the Downey Arts Coalition website at www.downeyarts.org.

********** Published: November 15, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 31