2018 WINTER OLYMPIC ART PROJECT – CULTURE MEETS SPORT, AND BOTH WINS: Stay tune for Japan 2020!

Bundled up to defeat the winter’s freezing temperatures, a powerful blending of sport and inspired artistry came together for the first time in the history of the Olympic Winter Games. Former Olympians who are also artists were invited to the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games to be part of the “Olympic Art Project” developed by the IOC. Leading the artistic cultural infusion were athlete/artists Olympians Alexi Pappas (10 km runner), Roald Bradstock (Javelin Throw), Lanny Barnes (Biathlon) and Jean-Blaise Evequoz (Fencing) who were the “Olympian/Artists” instrumental in the XXIII Olympic Winter Games art project.

To create the stunning signature painting for the games, 111 Olympians joined to paint the inspired work, a large 15 panel canvas depicting the famous Olympic rings and multiple sports figures. 39 counties participated and luminaries shared in the art experience included IOC President Thomas Back, WOA president Joel Bouzou, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, and Alexandrea and Diane de Navacelle de Coubertin.

 

The 2018 games had two artistic projects, the first involving a series of short films d’auteur on location by Alexi Pappas and partner Jeremy Teicher. The second undertaking inspired by the Winter Games was to paint 15 paintings, originally planned for one per day, in a workshop lead by Bradstock, Barnes and Evequoz. The shift in the project happened after the first day, as more athletes began to come to paint and participate in the project. Roald Bradstock, the instigator of this project, (wearing his own artwork in unique hand painted clothes aka nickname the Olympic Picasso,) said "this collaborative Olympic project will focus on and celebrate the Olympic athlete, giving Olympians an opportunity to show their creative side, discuss Olympic values and ideals, and work together to show unity, respect, community and friendship. This project is about combining the universal languages of sport and art – a project about Olympians, created by Olympians for Olympians."

Unexpectedly many more countries including Italy, Poland and United States showed up to paint both before and after their own sport competitions. Gold medalist Italian alpine downhill Sophia Goggia participated in project along with other gold, silver and bronze medal winners. The makeshift pavilion had athletes painting on the artwork day and night! The collaborative community began to paint their own official outfits with the hashtag #Olympicart. The artists built their own signage outside the pavilion to encourage and welcome athletes to participate in the Olympic Village, and to encourage and welcome athletes who may have feared they had no artistic talent. No one imagined the unique creative talent of superior athletes would translate onto the inspired large canvas, which now carries on to the Olympic Museum located in Switzerland.

The gracious South Koreans hosting this year outdid themselves providing pageantry, excitement and an irresistible enthusiasm to help build bonds and bridges in the world of sports and artistic practices, giving a richness and depth to the 2018 Olympics not previously experienced. Artist Roald Bradstock was the passionate champion of this cultural performative experience and his hope is to take this process to the next 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan. The use of new technology such as drones, IPHONES and other technologies were also included in the closing ceremony where a fleet of 300 Intel Shooting Star drones took flight illuminating Soohorang’s open arms, the mascot of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games which took its motif from the white tiger.

The future IOC Art Projects hope to see expansion in the use of these technologies which will include social media engagement meant to continue and spread the message of friendship, respect and excellence, known as the foundation of the Olympic Games. The smiles could be seen for miles on all who were lucky enough to attend and compete in this brilliant event which gathered so many to create art!