Bryan Lawson of Rural Retreat, Va., a senior visual communication design/studio art student in Virginia Tech's School of Visual Arts, College of Architecture and Urban Studies, won third place in the international Red Bull Art of Can design competition.

The Red Bull Art of Can competition received more than 350 entries from 13 countries and 32 states. Three winners, including Lawson, and 56 finalists were featured in the 2009 Red Bull Art of the Can Exhibition held in Union Station, Washington, D.C., on Oct. 8-19.

The Red Bull Art of Can competition challenges artists to construct pieces created with, or inspired by, Red Bull Energy Drink and Red Bull Simply Cola cans. Both professional and amateur artists submitted their designs for consideration.

Lawson’s entry, a crop circle replica of the Red Bull can titled “Taurus in the Rye,” was the largest entry in the competition, measuring 270 feet by 100 feet. He devoted almost a full year to the conception of “Taurus in the Rye,” culminating in three days working with a mower, grass trimmer, and brush cutter at Virginia Tech’s Kentland Farm outside of Blacksburg.

Lawson undertook the project with coordination and support from Dwight Paulette, farm coordinator in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, along with Steve Bickley, professor of art in the School of Visual Arts.

“When creating a crop circle, once you cut anything, you are committed. There is no erasing, painting over your mistake, or gluing the piece back on. Also, once you start cutting, you must finish. If it rains or the wind blows before completion, it destroys the entire design,” said Lawson. At ground level, Lawson could not be sure he had captured the correct proportions for the design. It was only after finishing that he went aloft in a helicopter and realized he had achieved the design he set out to create.

Lawson also exhibited a sculpture at the 2008 Art of Can event in Houston, Texas.

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