Artist(s): Trevor Hughes, Alex Smithson, Cyndi Hughes and Josh Hughes
Description / Inspiration: A gallows esque platform with burnt wood making a hand rail, on it rests a coffin and a sign above stating "That First Hit..." when you step up to the coffin you see a single large nail making a handle to open the top half. As it opens the first thing you notice is yourself in the coffin because there is a mirror and above the mirror a small sign completing the sentence from the first sign "Might be Your Last Nail" and when you look to the inside wall of the door you're confronted with a plaque, On which you read just a few stats. The death toll of meth in 2021 which was 32,000 (half the population of Great Falls Mt) , 85-90% of stimulant abuse deaths involve meth, from 2005 to 2015 the % of stimulant abuse rose 225% and the "NOT EVEN ONCE" tag line.
"That First Hit...Might be Your Last Nail" felt like the a great way to say how addictive and potentially life threatening meth can be. Having this interactive art installation at the Kellergeist bar and restaurant just inside their street accessible patio entrance makes it so both patrons coming out to sit with their food as well as, passers by on the street, can't help but see it. Those who see it at a glance get the overl statement of that first hit leading to a coffin, and the slightly more curious people can take that first step to see what's inside and be confronted with a very surprising sight of their own Visage inside the coffin and the rest of the main statement in a far less ambiguous message.
"You try meth, it will likely lead to your death!"
Materials used include lumber, plywood, screws, a pallet, stain, metal L channel, a branch, a mirror, wood burner for writing and a torch for creating the burnt textures, all coming together to make several pieces that are easily transportable and screw together like a life size Lego set.
Our inspiration really came from the stats we looked up when deciding how we wanted to go about this project and we had heard how easily it is to become addicted to a stimulant such as meth, the tag line we came up with.
"That First Hit...Might be Your Last Nail" meaning that first time you use meth could be the thing that ultimatly puts the last Nail in your coffin. It might not happen day one but it's definitely going to put you closer to the grave then you otherwise would have been.
We really liked the idea that someone had to take the first step in curiosity to what that first hit might mean so they step up to this gallows esque platform to grab the large nail handle to open a coffin that looks as though it's had a fire inside. Where the smoke that once came through the boards has left burn marks, defining the individual pieces of wood. Once you recognize you're seeing your own face inside and look up to see "Might be Your Last Nail" you almost instinctively want to turn away and as you do your confronted with the same truly jarring stats we first saw and our ultimate inspiration for wanting to make this statement piece!
Just walking up to this platform is quite intimidating and we truly hope the interactive quality as well as people's natural curiosity will have a nice punchy impact that makes the participant, and general passerby alike, think about the true cost of "That First Hit"
Location: Back patio of Kellergeist 300 1st avenue South, Great Falls, Montana. It can be seen when driving on 3rd st South just behind the building in the entrance of the patio under the awning and facing towards 3rd street where it opens to the sidewalk View on map
Thank Yous: We would like to say thank you to our families for the support and help with this massive project, Kellergeist for letting us use their patio to display the piece, Alex Smithson and Cyndi Hughes for being such amazing partners in this endeavor, Josh Hughes for doing an awesome job researching facts for us and helping us sign up and submit and of course the community of Great Falls for without them we wouldn't have people to share this with.