On March 16, 2014 I saw a brooch of bird droppings, visited the doctor…. twice, changed diapers on a dog…. a dog, made more earrings in seven days than I did all of last year, and viewed a gallery of photographs that was comprised of dead animals. Interesting week, right?
So the dog….
Yeah. She’s 14. And she likes to pee on my things. She learned how to wiggle out of one of those velcro diapers you can get at pet stores so I got desperate and purchased 2T-3T pull-ups. She’s wearing toddler pull-ups. I have to cut a little hole for her tail and every day she looks me square in the eye as if to say she will eat my face the minute I fall asleep.
But look at that face! Adorable, right?
Now on to the bird dropping accessories…. I have to talk about those, because they were simultaneously disgusting and completely entertaining. And, though many may recognize the artist’s work for it’s shock value, I admittedly found it refreshing, bold and a great exercise in establishing what art is for the individual viewing it, and for society as a whole.
Frances Wadsworth-Jones created a collection of brooches inspired by London’s pigeon population, called Heaven Sent, constructed from silver, black diamonds, tourmaline, yellow sapphires, and formed into the shape of droppings, which wearers can pin to their lapels, in what the artist considers an act of “intimacy”.
Now, just for a moment, step away from the context in which the pieces are delivered. With what are you left? A craftmanship which exemplifies originality and attention to detail, a deep appreciation for quality and a bold, unexpected use of color . The artist clearly understands the medium with which she works, and uses that understanding in a delightfully tongue-in-cheek way.
But it’s poo. Right?
There’s something to be said for creating art from the most unlikely, and even undesirable, things. Nick Brandt, for instance, took photos of animal carcasses washed ashore a deadly lake in Tanzania, and despite the state of the animals, managed to capture their characters in each frame. It was this gallery of images that first allowed me to consider beauty by yet another unpopular standard, and it is by that standard I took to viewing, and appreciating, the “Heaven Sent” brooch collection.
When digesting this collection (ahem, figuratively, of course), I recognized and understood the dichotomy between using beautiful materials to represent what society accepts as an undesirable occurrence. Perhaps I’m pretentious. Perhaps I’ve had one class too many on the symbolism of art. Perhaps I’m one of those people who, instead of accepting something as simply pretty or ugly, I have to dissect it for meaning. Most likely, however, I just really get a kick out of this. It’s funny. And yes, I might even laugh at fart jokes a time or two. Those are funny as well. Ultimately, I think it’s a brilliant way for an artist to stick her tongue out at convention, while still maintaining her code of providing quality product.
Besides, I’ve always believed if you can’t have fun with your art, then you’re doing it wrong.
But whether you can appreciate the quality of the work, the purpose of the work, the symbolism or all the crazy, there is, without a doubt, a place for this collection in the world, in the artistic community, in the fashion industry even. Is that place with you?
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