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Cape artists find ‘wings’ in Red Bull’s international competition

By Staff | May 15, 2009

Red Bull, an Austrian-based company that manufactures an energy drink of the same name, has given two Cape Coral artists an inspirational boost, but it is not because of the high levels of sucrose, glucose and taurine contained in the beverage.
An international art competition offered by Red Bull is the muse of Rose Young and Rickie Howie, two retired teachers who have collaborated on various fiber art projects in recent years.
Howie stumbled upon the “Red Bull Art of Can” competition on the Internet and decided to enter it with Young.
“Normally we use fibers or threads,” said Young, who along with Howie is a member of the Weavers of Char-Lee, a group of weavers in Charlotte and Lee counties.
“The cans give us a challenge so that’s why we decided to do it,” she added.
Young and Howie’s piece is entitled “Step Up” and uses triaxial weaving to create a 3-D like effect with stairs leading up to a can of Red Bull.
Their submission first had to be approved by the competition, and will be on display in October at Red Bull’s exhibition in Washington, D.C. A first prize showing will mean a trip to Switzerland for Young and Howie, while a second place showing affords them a trip to Miami for next year’s exhibition.
Besides weaving with more difficult aluminum material, the artists had to overcome the difficulty of obtaining large amounts of Red Bull cans, a task made even harder because they do not drink the energy elixir.
But Red Bull representatives came to the rescue, driving two cases — or 48 cans — down from Tampa to help the cause.
“Red Bull as a company has been very good as far as helping us out. It was good because we didn’t have to pay for them. They’re pretty expensive,” Howie said.
Young and Howie were completing the finishing touches on the project Thursday, and will send it off today, the last day entries can be submitted.
Winners will be announced in October at the exhibition in Washington, D.C.