Monday, Aug. 23, 2021

Triple Play


Artspace shines spotlight on trio of artists

Byron May’s “Abstractions on Steel” and William Joyce’s newest short film, “Mr. Spam Gets A New Hat,” fill artspace with vivid color and artistic genius.

William Joyce says, “Artspace is a place where anything can happen.” You won’t believe what you’ll see Friday, Aug. 27, when three shows debut on the same evening. Featured: Byron May’s 3-D “Abstractions on Steel” come to life in artspace Mainspace; Academy Award-winning filmmaker, writer and illustrator William Joyce tells the story of bringing love and daydreams to life in his newest short film, “Mr. Spam Gets every half-hour from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

The exhibition shows the process of creating “Mr. Spam Gets a New Hat” from the beginning sketches and story ideas to storyboarding, character development and ultimately the final film. It will include the first sketch of Mr. Spam, walls of pencilsketched storyboards, designs for the characters and sets, screen grabs from the digital animation and character sculptures. It’s a peek into the genius of William Joyce and how tales evolve.

Joyce says, “Mr. Spam Gets a New Hat” is a jubilant mix of surrealism and romance. The year is 1927, and Mr. Spam, who is a budding inventor and visionary, lives in a charming cottage with his dog Spot and a house full of dancing cutlery and appliances. He has many dreams, but none as joyful as his dream of love for the lovely and talented Miss Dot, who lives next door. Complications ensue. But love and daydreams win the day.

Joyce cites many challenges and “firsts” making “Mr. Spam”: Incorporating revolutionary techniques using real-time Unreal Engine technology to push the boundaries of producing feature animation; recreating the vibrant colors of early Technicolor in the short; making the film in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. “No one working on the film was ever in the same place – not even on the same continent. We worked via Zoom from Shreveport, London, Vancouver, Montreal and Chennai. The pandemic made us adapt. We came together and got the job done. It was inspiring!” says Joyce.

“Thick Air: Rituals of Resistance,” the solo show of Critical Mass 8 Literary Best of Show artist Mawiyah Bomani, A New Hat,” upstairs in Coolspace; and Critical Mass 8 Literary Best of Show artist Mawiyah Bomani debuts “Thick Air: Rituals of Resistance” on the mezzanine. Free to the public from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

Byron May came to his art from a path of pain. Most in Shreveport know May as owner of SB Magazine, but it was back surgery gone very wrong and pain that were literally driving him mad that brought him to art. He transfers an unassembled mixture of elements he sees in his head onto stainless steel sheets using a palette knife and a proprietary, soybased paint he invented in vibrant reds, blues and yellows to create bold, three-dimensional images that literally lift from the surface.

“The stainless steel I paint on causes my art to thrive for light,” says May. “Looking through 3-D glasses, which I will provide to people attending the artspace exhibition, changes the entire painting, gives it a unique depth, and brings it to life in tumbling layers.” says May.

William Joyce’s Coolspace exhibition tells the story of making his newest short film, “Mr. Spam Gets a New Hat.” Starting from a gumbo-stained Cush’s Grocery paper tablecloth sketch to a worldwide collaboration with DNEG Feature Animation using a revolutionary style of technology, Joyce takes us on a journey. During the exhibition, SRAC will offer complimentary tickets to the premiere of the short at the Robinson Film Center, showing also opens Friday, Aug. 27, at 5:30 p.m. on the mezzanine in artspace. Literary critic Kwame Dawes described Bomani as an author who “cares to tackle hard topics of race and identity, valiantly and often brilliantly.” He said she writes with deep compassion, empathy and emotional honesty. Visit or for more information.

In order to ensure the health of the audience for the opening of the exhibitions, the safety steps are as follows:

Everyone who attends the opening event must bring proof of either complete vaccination or a negative Covid test within three days of the opening. Everyone must wear a mask, including children. We will invoke safe spacing. The floors are already marked at six feet apart, and the staff will encourage people to stay safely spaced.


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