Minnesota artist’s work to be fashioned – and sent to the moon – Bemidji Pioneer

DULUTH – “Once Upon a Childhood,” a 2020 oil painting by Duluth artist Kelly Schamberger, won a San Diego Fashion Week award in an international competition. As a result, the image of a model ship will not only be exhibited in New York, it will serve as inspiration for an original couture outfit and – wait for it – sent to the moon.

Oil painting of a model wooden boat with three masts and rigging, sitting on what appears to be blue fabric suggesting waves.  The background is dark, with several star-shaped yellow lights scattered throughout.

“Once Upon a Childhood”, a 2020 oil painting by Duluth artist Kelly Schamberger.

Contributed / Mitch Rossow Fine Art Photography

“I still can’t believe it,” Schamberger said. “People spend their lives trying to be recognized in this competition.” The competition is placed under the auspices of the Art Renewal Center of New Jersey, an organization that Schamberger describes as “the leading authority (on and) promoter of contemporary realist artists.”

The 16th International ARC Show competition involves a complex selection of several thousand submissions. There are dozens of prize categories, with varying prizes and numbers of winners. Schamberger’s piece was one of 10 honored by San Diego Fashion Week, which will commission a designer (the artist is not yet sure who) to create an outfit inspired by the painting. The outfit will be modeled alongside the artwork at an exhibition in July at Sotheby’s in New York.

Schamberger’s painting will also be one of 221 winning pieces featured in a set of time capsules heading into space later this year. As the competition website explains: “Art images will be laser etched onto nickel microfiche and/or scanned onto terabyte memory cards and enclosed in a time capsule on the Griffin lunar lander, launched by SpaceX , and placed on the Moon in perpetuity.”

“It’s a bit pricey to get in. I paid $275,” Schamberger said. “Literally, the only reason I entered this year was because they were like, ‘Oh, by the way, whoever wins an award or an honorable mention is going to go in that time capsule to the moon.'”

The artist said it is a coincidence that his port city will be depicted on the moon with a nautical image. She’s just “really proud of this piece,” Schamberger said of painting a wooden model built by her beloved late uncle William Rager.

Although Schamberger is fascinated by space, she says, she has never painted spaceships or celestial objects. “I paint mostly from life,” she said, “and I don’t really have a good way to see…so far.”

While Schamberger will be heading to New York to see the Sotheby’s exhibit, she has yet to receive an invitation to follow her art to the moon.

“I will be totally willing,” she said, “to be the first artist to be launched into space to draw or paint a picture of Earth.”

Ideally, the paint is already delivered in tubes.

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