We had the opportunity to check out the “Upside Down Land” at The Potentialist Workshop. While there, we took some photos, checked them out, and roamed the exhibit. This is indeed a creative and fun exhibit well worth your time.
~Photos by Dana Nöllsch~
There is a story. A story worth telling. And it starts with a little boy and his father. They move to a new home one Sunday. It was an ordinary Sunday, in an ordinary house. His room was not very clean, and so he spent the whole day arranging it just how he liked. At night he heard a strange scratching noise form inside his closet.
The boy naturally tries to ignore it. But gets louder, and louder, until a gruff voice sounds from behind the door
“Woah what’s that?!”
The boy was terrified and stumbled for the stick he keeps from just a moment like this. He slowly opened the closet door, ready for whatever horror lay inside, but there was nothing – a simple, fairly empty closet.
Until something tapped him on the shoulder, and he turned to find a monster! It was a very small monster, about 3 feet tall, with horns, purple fur and big yellow eyes.
The boy fell and scrambled until the side of the closet was at his back.
The monster only said, “Hurry up” and grabbed the boy by the hand, to drag him through the small door that appeared at the closets very end.
They came out through a wishing well, in a strange new world.
This places has had many names.
And many children to name it.
But this boy called it Upside Down Land.Pan Pantoja
Here is the description from the Press Release.
“Upside Down Land” takes a child and his father’s imaginary world from the dream world to the real world, highlighting the bedtime stories Reno artist and former Reno poet laureate, Pan Pantoja, crafted to his son each evening for years. Featuring the adventures of “Grump Grump” characters of the fictional “Upside Down Land,” the experience showcases more than 200 sculptures ranging from small to large that have been created for attendees to walk on, walk through or play with. Collaborating artists include Jeff Johnson, Jessi Sprocket, Colin O’Bryan, Naomi Divine, Lou Brock, Jack Ryan, Alfredo Becerra Jr., and more, who have crafted brand new elements, including underwater and cloud worlds, while also borrowing resources from Pantoja’s Art Basel exhibition from Miami Art Week in December of 2022.
“This is a truly unique experience that is both beautiful to behold and wondrous to be a part of,” said Pantoja. “I created this world for my son, Axiom, as he grew up. Each evening we would build a more intricate and elaborate Upside Down Land and now, thanks to the impressive power of this group of artists and master craftspeople, we’re compassionately creating that world for everyone to enjoy.”
The exhibition begins in what looks like a normal bedroom for a seven year old boy, but travels through a wishing well into many different landscapes. One element of the experience enables attendees to watch and play with liquid sand, which acts like water, within a realistic, life-size “sand castle.” Another creation for the exhibition, a custom-sculpted collection of mystical tree and lamp creations features a 72 character alphabet that was created specially for this experience.
“I think anyone who has spent time crafting a personal and imaginary corner of the universe for their children will love this experience,” said Pantoja. “There’s something profound and beautiful in watching this shared experience between myself and Axiom now be something others can come to love. But regardless, there is something for everyone to discover and enjoy in ‘Upside Down Land.’”
For tickets and exhibition times check out The Potentialist Workshop’s website: potentialistworkshop.com/house-of-infinite-potential