Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Big Give-away.

Appropriating Words

It’s the holiday season and in the spirit of this time of year I have decided to give away a piece of my art. Last year I had a similar event where I asked everyone to email me on a particular day, at a particular time. I opted not to do this method again, considering it caused quite a problem with my email provider when hundreds of emails hit them all at once. This year it will be a competition of wit and intellect. Are you up for the challenge?

This year’s competition is a competition of words, in particular, creating new words. This idea came to me after my friend and artist, Nicole McConville invented a word to describe her work: sigilation. In her case she took the word sigil and modified it to suit her own meaning, in a different form. Check out her site at I was fascinated by the concept of inventing a word to describe one’s art. This is nothing new,really, artists have been doing it for a long time. Dada, Modernism, Montage are a few examples of artistic inventions. Your challenge if you choose to accept it, is to invent a an word pertaining to art.

It could be a noun, verb, whatever, but it MUST be original and not appear in any dictionary.

Submission guidelines READ CAREFULLY!!!!!!!

  • Invent a word. It must somehow relate to art, artists, the artistic process, or creativity.
  • It can be any type of word, noun, verb, adjective, adverb, etc.
  • The submission must be original and not appear in any dictionary.
    • You can create it from an existing root word. For instance: Neo-shrinalist (a term I jokingly use to describe my art) would be acceptable or as in Nicole’s case: sigilation from the root sigil.
    • A nonsense word would also be acceptable (Dada would be an example of an invented nonsense word).
  • The word must be submitted as an actual dictionary entry.
  • It must have a pronunciation key. You might need to cut and paste the symbols into your entry.
  • Your submission(s) must be emailed to me at by January 3rd 2007
  • THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT: The subject line of the email must read: artspeak (it needs to be one word, in lower case. Any variation in the above spelling will never reach the selection committee.
  • Two submissions per person…that’s it no more.

The Selection Process

The judges will consist of Nicole McConville and myself. The entries will be judged on the following merits.

  1. Is it original?
  2. Does it pertain to art, the art process, or some aspect of creativity?
  3. Is it inventive or witty?
  4. Does it roll off the tongue?
  5. Is it catchy?
  6. Did the entrant follow the submission guidelines?

The Prize:

Keeping with the theme of the competition I have created an assemblage piece using a old dictionary. It is valued at $500

The Winner

The winner will be announced on January 19th via email. The winner’s entry and the entries of the twenty-one runner-ups will be posted on my site ( and on my blog (

Good luck and happy wordsmithing,

Michael deMeng


Anita said...

How fascinating! My mind is thinking..thinking..thinking.

And, I can't wait until I take your shrine class in May, in VA.


Anonymous said...

ooohhh how fun!!!

great idea!!


Anonymous said...

can I enter as many times as I want or am I limited to one entry?

Unknown said...

deMeng here.

remember...only two entries per pick your words wisely.


Chaska Peacock said...

Michael, I admire your art so much!
It was your work which led to my doing sort-of-shrines, and now I am collecting metal in all formats.

I will definitely take on your challenge!


~marilyn said...

Oh my...what an utterly generous and creative contest! Thank you for such a fun challenge.

~marilyn d

Izabella Blue said...

oh my goodness, Michael..this is the koolest contest & oooohhhh the piece your are giving away is divine!! xo!! ~Bella

Anonymous said...

This is my first visit to your site. I must say that you do some really amazing work. Beautiful...

Have a Great day!

tisjewel said...

Whoo hoo, Ok I'm entering :) My entry is heading your way Michael!

Laurie M. said...

Too fun! What a great way to start the new year!(almost) My words are winging their way to you...cya, Laurie