Art Teacher’s Creativity is Unconditional

Their colorful artwork has appeared at numerous locations and events in Dallas and beyond, including The Great Create at The Nasher Sculpture Center, the Highland Park Centennial, the Dallas Contemporary, and the Granada Theater.

That’s because Sunny Sliger, Marianne Newsom, and their business, The Color Condition, continue to gain fans.

Sliger, a part-time art aide at Hyer Elementary School, and Newsom, a textile designer at Fossil, first worked together about four years ago, creating costumes for the Metroplex Mavericks Show Ski Team.

The project was challenging because they had to find materials that would work well in windy, watery conditions, and they wanted to incorporate movement and color into the designs. After discovering how much they enjoyed working together, they decided to collaborate on future projects.

Inspired by the materials, they began cutting strips of varying lengths from colorful plastic tablecloths using a vintage paper cutter. The streamers were affixed to wire grids. Canopies were later incorporated, adding dimension. Due to a lack of indoor space to work in, many of their early pieces were created outside.

Sliger and Newsom soon learned their art involves multiple senses. The wind creates an auditory aspect, much like the sound of the ocean. The materials from an installation at Forty Five Ten almost a year ago still retain the scents of the candles and perfumes from the store, while pieces placed at SMOKE have a barbecue smell. There is also a tactile aspect. Wanting to immediately involve people in their art, they often place streamers in the entrances of the buildings housing their installations.

Plastic tablecloths continue to serve as their primary material, restricting them to whatever hues they are able to obtain. Newsom enjoys the limitations of color.
“It forces us to be more innovative,” she said.

Although they initially installed their pieces in gallery environments, both inside and outside, they were soon asked to undertake installations in store windows and decorate venues for birthdays, weddings, and other special events.

Sliger particularly enjoys providing private installations at the homes of art patrons. Several videos have been shot featuring their creations. They also designed a backdrop and hats for the choral pop-rock band Polyphonic Spree — “a perfect fit for us,” Sliger said.

They have yet to dispose of any of their previous works. Some of the pieces are retired, while others are repurposed for smaller projects, including streamers for kids.

Sliger and Newsom were presenters at TedxSMU recently, where they shared their dream installation site, the exterior of a moving train. Their presentation was about “simplicity, transformation, and collaboration.” Newsom said the talk provided an opportunity to ask themselves questions about their art they had not contemplated previously.
“The Ted Talk brought everything together, leading us to re-evaluate and reignite,” said Sliger.

They believe collaboration re-energizes everyone. That has been the case at Hyer, where third-grade students have created components for huge displays, such as totem poles and holiday trees.

Not long ago, Sliger found a crumpled note on the school floor, written by a student. The insightful note states, “art is important because you get to have fun and sometimes make money.” Just like their teacher.

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