The Transcendental (Worlds Longest Painting)
Artist SinGh's longest painting is miles of art and has also won many other records:
Longest Painting in the World
World’s Longest Painting ♦ 2013Not knowing what ArtPrize would do the next year, I entered the contest to simply get slaughtered at the hands of the rich and powerful. But this time I wouldn’t let them win just like that. From past experience, I knew I had options.
Thirty-eight days in the making, this fruity, colorful creation featured various still-lifes and was named The Transcendental. Measuring 3,444.91 meters or 2.14 miles long, it won the Guinness World Record for the Longest Painting by an Individual. As mentioned earlier, The Transcendental has also been recognized with records through Miracle World Records, RecordSetter, Unique World Records, Elite World Records, Limca World Records, and The book of alternative records. This painting was displayed publicly, stretching across the parks, bridges, and public walkways of Grand Rapids, Michigan, in September 2013.With this painting, I attempted to raise awareness about the liberty, well-being, and role of women in our society.
To transcend is to go to a higher level, to go above and beyond the ordinary. Transcendental knowledge is much higher than the knowledge of our mundane existence. I have named my painting The Transcendental because I had to transcend my usual level of discipline to do something that had never been done before: working 20 hours a day for 38 days to make the world’s longest painting. This reminds me of my 2009 stunt-art experience of being buried alive for three days—another surreal undertaking.Whether transcendental knowledge really exists is debatable. But making this painting required so much discipline and self-control that for me it was beyond the ordinary. Mystical, spiritual, elevating—transcendental.
ControversyHaving moved ahead from the ArtPrize fiasco of 2012 regarding my show called Captivity, I was determined to compete in ArtPrize 2013. In 2012 ArtPrize organizers accused me of marketing my art via gimmicks, so in 2013 I wanted to stay away from negative attention. I made sure that my painting would have no “controversy,” no “nudity,” no so-called “attention seeking.” My painting would be long and portray pears and flowers—a simple still-life.
The idea was to display the painting in ArtPrize—world’s largest art contest. However, as creative forces overpowered my head, my plan for the ArtPrize changed tremendously. My painting would not just be long but the longest in the entire world, and I’d finish the work in the least amount of time possible. I would achieve something beyond the ordinary and name my painting The Transcendental. Making the world’s longest painting in very few days would lift me above my mundane existence. It would be an artistic experience hard to express in words.The first challenge, of course, was to raise money or find sponsors for the project. I had three weeks to do it. And what would it cost to make the painting? One hundred thousand dollars.
To my great and happy surprise, all the energies and forces out there in the world joined me, and everything for the project came together. I was ready to roll.When I embarked on this life-changing journey, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. My goal was to complete the painting before the beginning of ArtPrize on September 18.
To succeed I had to meet stringent Guinness guidelines and standards, one of which was that the painting had to be displayed publicly for the Guinness officials to see and measure.I thought I would be unable to do this project because it would need the support and cooperation of the authorities. Nevertheless, I got in touch with the ArtPrize curator, Clare Fox, to let the organization know of my ambitious plans. I was given the go-ahead for this extraordinary project.
I began to paint for 18 to 20 hours each day so that I could complete the work before September 18. However, just one week before ArtPrize was to begin, Clare Fox told me that I couldn’t exhibit this project, whereupon I tried my best to contact higher administrators at ArtPrize. I learned that Clare Fox had not acted on her own; the decision had come from Kevin Buist, Exhibition Director of ArtPrize. What ArtPrize administrators wanted was to stop me from displaying the world’s longest painting. Oh, well!After exhausting every possible option of reconciliation with the authorities, I was left with two options. I could waste the money and disappoint everyone involved in my project; or I could display the painting without permission, pay off any fines that it might incur, and recover the money invested by selling the painting—but this would be possible only if I got the world record.
I knew that ArtPrize had authority over the park but not over the entire city. So I decided to forget the park and instead collaborate with hundreds of other venues to display this giant monster of a painting all over Grand Rapids. The painting went over bridges and loading docks, past a popular fishing spot, through underpasses, over and under stairways, under bridges, along public walkways, through the museum by way of the art school, through luxury hotels, private properties, and more. This monster was so long that it caught everyone’s attention and won admiration.It’s hard to get things done in the complex world we live in. Yet the battle had been won. The world’s longest painting had been created and displayed, the Guinness World Record had been achieved, and the city of Grand Rapids had just witnessed history.
For me, this was the beginning of the end with ArtPrize. In 2014 I discovered that they had banned me for life, but I left them with their jaws dropped. I thanked them for banning me; their ban had given huge publicity to my painting, and I was still able to win the Guinness World Record for the Longest Painting in the World. The world’s longest painting is worth over $700,000 plus.You would think that a record-breaking painting would be good for ArtPrize, that it would bring more art enthusiasts and spectators to the art show. So why would the people running ArtPrize say, “No”? Other artists have stated that ArtPrize is “nothing but a huge scam.” They think the voting system is fake and the winner is preselected. Projects like the World’s Longest Painting are derailed from the contest because they create suspicion in the public’s eye regarding the validity of the declared winners. According to the ArtPrize website, “everything goes,” but in reality, owner Rick Devos controls the contest including:
● Artists’ rights
● Artistic freedom
● Voting system
I realize that some of my fans might not like my direct attacks on ArtPrize, but I can only speak the truth, and if I don’t, I’m not doing justice to myself and others.
Freedom in art
Without the freedom to create, my soul would freeze, my imagination would come to a halt, and I would feel as if I didn’t exist. I would feel like a machine that takes instruction from others to produce in mass quantities that which already exists. If I don’t have freedom, I’m not going to invent or discover new ways of doing things, and I’m not going to have any impact on the arts and culture, on our economy, on health and wellbeing, or on society and education. And if that’s the case, I might as well surrender and not ask for artistic freedom. But fortunately, I will always seek and find artistic freedom, one way or another.
Also check out Worlds Longest Drawing