100 Dallas Creatives: No. 90 Color Mavens Marianne Newsom and Sunny Sliger

Categories: 100 Creatives

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The Color Condition

Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order. Know an artistic mind who deserves a little bit of blog love? Email lauren.smart@dallasobserver.com with the whos and whys.

Marianne Newsom and Sunny Sliger of The Color Condition are as colorful as their installations. They met working at a shared studio space and bonded over two late, late nights adding last minute details to waterski costumes Sliger was tasked with creating. They latter joined the stunt ski team because, well, that's just the kind of badasses they are.

Sliger is native to Dallas and Newsom joined us from Austin and together they create brilliant, fringe-y art that adds dimension and texture to every space. They were drawn together over a love of fringe and after the ski squad costumes, a collaboration for Temporary Occupants at Eastfield College cemented the partnership. For the project, they selected an outdoor space and juxtaposed waving fringe against nature. This was a sight they fell for...hard. And this love eventually blossomed into The Color Condition. The unexpected gentle, whooshing sound each install makes when it catches the wind is just an added bonus in their books and even after two years, they're still madly in love with what they do. So, what is it, exactly they do? They color condition - everything. They brighten up public and private spaces on projects and commissions with vivid streamers. And they're about to do it to Deep Ellum big time in exchange for studio space from developer Scott Rohrman.

How did Scott find y'all or how did y'all find him?
MN: It was a little of both. He knew our work from Barry Whistler and the Nasher Sculpture Center and contacted us, but it turned out Sunny's best friend from middle school knew him too. When we met, we threw out the idea of an exchange. We said, utopian world? We'd have a space to work in.

SS: Up until this point we were working in Marianne's basement and my patio, but you can't stretch 25-foot banners. So now, instead of making something and having to roll it up in bundles, we'll get to see it next to each other.

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The Color Condition

How long does an install last?
MN: We kept Barry Whistler up for forty days last summer. The only thing that really happens is fading. Sun is the worst enemy. But we're experimenting with new materials. We have a lady that wants a permanent piece so we made it out of nylon.

What was the first material you guys started with?
MN: Shower curtains and dropcloths.
SS: Whatever we had. We were like, this is a big piece of something, let's cut it up. Our early days were really fun, going to dollar stores, stalking thrift stores; we have a whole hierarchy of dollar stores.

The way you put the colors together is such a big part of what you do, what was that like in the beginning?
SS: At the beginning we were mixing colors together and focusing on chunks, but they were all one length so you couldn't see what was going on unless the wind blew and we were losing all those great color combinations so we learned to layer.

What else has changed?
MN: When we first started we'd have parties in our basement. We'd hang up grids everywhere and be like, okay you guys, we've got beer and food and everyone would come over and have a blast. Then our first event at the Nasher was participatory and we thought, oh my gosh this is perfect because this is how we've been working.

SS: For the Nasher, we didn't bring enough materials because we didn't think it was going to be that big of a deal, but people were grabbing the streamers off our install by the fistful and putting them on the empty panel. They were so into it.

What's the one thing you want to stream the most?
MN: A train. A couple of years ago we were stopped at a train track at night. It was pitch black and this train came by, lit up by headlights and we said, how cool would it be to be sitting at a stoplight and a flaming ball of streamers speeds by?

SS: That's our dream, we're gonna get our train. Or even just to do a whole section of the city. Something big and grand. [In early June] our pieces were displayed in Lincoln Center in New York. That was pretty crazy.

MN: There's a company in Bushwick we've collaborated with and we basically made install kits and guides and that's what happened last night in Lincoln Center.

SS: That's the surreal part - we didn't do it, but we did it. The last time we touched those was in the basement in winter and we wondered what kind of life they'd have and there they are.

What's your hope for the new space?
MN: We want to do events here. We want to bring energy to this area. Most of the buildings have rooftop patios so we're excited about that because they're amazing to hang.

SS: Dallas is changing. Deep Ellum was such a big deal. When we were looking at spaces I was like, "I made so many poor decisions here when it was a club."

MN: Scott is really relying on local artists to help revitalize Deep Ellum and make it a cohesive neighborhood that blends and makes it special.

What's your advice to people who want to start their own thing?
MN: I say the one thing we've always had is it wasn't about making money or making it a business. We've always been like let's just make it even if it's just for us.

100 Creatives:
100. Theater Mastermind Matt Posey
99. Comedy Queen Amanda Austin
98. Deep Ellum Enterpriser Brandon Castillo
97. Humanitarian Artist Willie Baronet
96. Funny Man Paul Varghese
95. Painting Provocateur Art Peña
94. Magic Man Trigg Watson
93. Enigmatic Musician George Quartz
92. Artistic Luminary Joshua King

91. Inventive Director Rene Moreno


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