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Lady Heart’s Portfolio: Period Pin-Ups

18 Jun

I recently created a painting series/installation that juxtaposed the products, messages and imagery of both the pad/tampon companies, and the pornography industry in order to make a comment on the ridiculous, misguided, sanitized and patently false ideas that both have marketed to the public in regards to women’s bodies, sexuality and real experiences.  Though this is a serious topic, my intention was to use humour to highlight the common absurdity in what these two industries have created.  The following is a bit long, but I think the paintings need a bit of explanation in order for you, my dear readers, to see what a good artist I am.  No, seriously though, you should read it.

My work consisted of five paintings of pin-up type photographs of women painted onto the colourful,  and wonderfully smooth and matte  surfaces of menstrual pad wrappers.

This project was inspired by a few, seemingly unrelated things.  The paintings were inspired by and created in reference to a deck of  nudie cards I had that is from the 80s.  The pictures on the deck were laughable, consisting of  preposterous scenarios, (like taking a naked sponge bath while sitting bare assed on a bale of hay) and sexual cliches that have little to nothing to do with the true nature of women’s sexuality (laying on the ground in ecstasy while spraying one’s naked body with a hose, standing or sitting around topless squeezing one breast between thumb and fingers, and just awkwardly posing with no bra or panties, but wearing long gloves, pearls and/or brimmed hats.)

Let’s all take a look at what I mean here for a sec.  And keep in mind these are here for artistic purposes only, and I will not be posting anymore nudity or pornography.   I’ve already attracted some wierdies with that post about pantyhose packages I did a while back that gets multiple views everyday and is always in my Google search terms stats, which show the keywords people have used to get to this blog.

There’s really nothing more relaxing, or sensual that sitting naked in some hay, am I right? Ladies, I know you must be nodding your heads in agreement out there. Plus, the immaculate environment provided by animal bedding and feed creates an excellent opportunity to bathe, obviously.

How did she even hold that pose? Look at it, its a semi-squat in high-heels, each foot on a different stair, and you know that water is making the ground slick.

The cards weren’t really sexy, they were more just…confusing than anything.  Anyways, I got thinking about how the tampon and pad companies also portray women’s bodies and reproduction and sexuality in a distorted way.  I think we’ve all seen the commercials that have women cartwheeling around in white pants, or the ones where the whole message and design of the product is based around concealing one’s use of pads and tampons, and by extension, the occurrence and existence of one’s menstrual cycle.

I decided that the pad wrappers as a canvas would be a good way to bring together the two industries, the tampon/pad companies, and the pornography world.  The name of the product says it all, “Sanitary Napkins” , a product that is meant to sanitize, for the wearer, and the public, the realities of female reproduction, an issue that is also “sanitized” in pornography and the like, where birth-control, pregnancy and menstruation are completely out of the picture. I also liked the pad wrappers because the way they open, in three sections, is very much like the centre-folds in adult magazines like Playboy.

So many of the pad and tampon advertisements focus on cleanliness, freshness, like the white bleached cotton of the pads and tampons and the clean looking mystery blue liquid stand-in for blood, two things that don’t exactly match women’s experiences I’ll bet.

Another element that helped gel this whole concept was the following.  I laughed out loud when I saw this sticker on a truck stop bathroom tampon machine, which succinctly summed up the gist of the marketing message the companies try to sell women about the freedom and benefits of their products:

Large sticker from truck stop bathroom tampon dispenser. Are you seeing the hilarity?

The image at the bottom is of a woman in an old fashioned long dress with a scarf, standing on the edge of a cliff in front of the ocean, the breeze whipping at her face and through her scarf, the sea spray misting her face; the freshness must just be unbelievable for this woman.

Isn’t the sticker relatable ladies?  I mean, a new tampon while on pit-stop from a long car ride is about as refreshing as the ocean breeze, no?  I presented this sticker along with the series of paintings, to punctuate the disparity between tampon marketing and reality.

And now, finally, here are the paintings, which range in size from 5 to 12 inches:

“The Hose Pose” Girls: have any of you done this in an attempt to seduce someone? If you’ve answered “yes,”  I don’t believe you.

I always thought cold showers brought the sensuality down to zero, but perhaps this is some sort of hot water hosing.

I love that it looks like her skirt just blew forward.

“Ooops! Tee hee!”

I thought the card that the painting below was based upon, depicted a very odd pose.  I guess it was supposed to be sexy, the woman touching her breast in a come-hither kind of way, but it just looks stupid to me, like she’s squeezing her breast like “honk, honk!”

honk honk!

And this next one, check out the “outfit,” and why is she posing like that?  The only time a person might do that pose in their life, is with a bat in one hand while posing in the front row for the baseball team group photo.

She didn’t even co-ordinate her shoes to her clothes. God!

And lastly, there’s this one, which I guess is the least absurd conceptually:

I hope you have enjoyed another look at my eclectic art portfolio, and that you are pleased with these paintings and the accompanying sticker.   Laughs aside, I think we’ve all learned a lot today about the false images of female sexuality, bodies and reproduction.  This is a series that I hope to expand upon with more paintings.  The pad wrappers are a wonderful surface to paint on.  I love the smooth, velvety texture, and the white tabs at the top are perfect to hang them.  Try making some of your own feminist, political art today!  I think you’ll find feminism is a popular topic that everyone is always eager to hear more about!  Menstruation too.

Tip for budding artists: Take a picture of your work while it is installed in the gallery.

Bonus:  Two pictures of public art (ie: vandalism) found in the same public bathroom, weeks apart:

The bathroom tampon machine: A veritable roundtable for relevant political discourse

And here’s a statement I think we can all enjoy

Lady Heart’s Portfolio: Coney Island Colour

6 Jun

I recently spent a few days in NYC and while there I went to Coney Island.  I was so charmed by the old fashioned rides, games and amusements which must be completely unchanged since the 50s or 60s at least.  The colours, the food, the old fashioned aesthetic, it was beautiful.  I thought I had read somewhere that Disney has, or intends to buy Coney Island and Disnify it, which, if true would be a national, nay, international tragedy that must be prevented! Check out my photos, they show an amusement park that that has more charm, more authenticity and more artistic value than any Disneyland could ever have.

This is the sign they have at all of the park entrances

The fishing game. I used to have a miniature magnetized version of this.

The decorative top of an old fashioned merry go round

A picture of the giant Ferris wheel, dubbed “Wonder Wheel”

The “Wonder Wheel” and the corner of the sign that runs the top perimeter of the bumper car arena.

I took a number of pictures of the bumper car sign. I am very drawn to colour and I just loved this sign.

The corner of the little snack shop, which had delicious churros and popcorn, among other treats.

The candy apples from the above pictured snack shop. To me they were works of art, like plastic sculptures.

They had classic carnival games, like this one, where you shoot the water pistol at the clown’s mouth to pop the balloon above it. The clown heads were great, their pastel colours dreamily faded by the summer sun. This game was packed with players. At all of the games I watched, the person shooting at clown number 14 won.

It’s almost perverted when you think about it. Or is that just me? Scratch that last thought

These were some of the prizes you could win at the clown game, but everyone I saw who won picked the stupid smurf dolls or the other recognizable commercial characters. I was like “Nooo! You stupid, get the pink dolphin or one of the miscellaneous googly-eyed puffs above it.”

See, now isn’t that preferable?

After seeing these prizes the smurfs were dead to me.

They also had a few of those “strong arm” game machines that test one’s strength. This one was my favorite; it had some stupid frothing meat-head guy (not pictured) flanked by two girls, this blond one being my favorite.

I love her ecstatic expression and wild, tacky make-up. I also love that her pose makes it appear that she has plunged her hand inside her head. I wondered what they were made of. A composite material, I guess.

This was the girl on the other side of meat-head guy on the game. Good, but not as great as the blond because her expression is so mild.

This is the display of another strength testing game where the player squeezes together the horns of a bull head that protrudes below this scale. The hand moves up the categories written on the fan to give the player their rating.

The pink front of a pinball game

An old horse ride of the type you used to see outside grocery stores. I love its expression and ergonomic posture.

There was a second clown game, further into the park, but strangely it was empty where the other one was full. These clowns where much more garish.

This was the giant eye of a cyclops monster head that loomed large at the entrance to a spooky house type ride. The eye looked back and fourth ceaselessly, a red light flashing from within through a broken spot in the centre. I was charmed by the decay of the rides and displays, it made things seem sort of sinister, but also earnest and authentic, and I was glad they hadn’t tried to make everything perfect.

This was from a souvenir stand where you could have your picture taken and have it printed on a button, key-chain, mirror, or these colourful felt posters that had cheesy backgrounds. I had a pink sparkly plastic key-chain made with my photo on one side and this image in the back, accompanied by the words “You and I forever”, but what I really wanted was to buy some of the sample souvenir photos he had, which were so great.

I loved this girl’s photo. She posed with much more flair than I achieved. Your choice of background was either this wicker chair, or an airbrushed scene of a rainbow and waterfall, which I chose.

This girl was also looking good in the wicker chair. I thought she was really cute and I liked that it said “Girl’s just gotta have fun” at the bottom

This girl is pictured in front of the same background as I was, which was charming in it’s crudeness.

This couple’s poster was my favorite. See how years of being exposed to the sun has made their faces look extra colourful and almost iridescent? I should have asked, no, begged him to sell it to me. Just one of the many regrets I have to live with in my life.

My most favorite part of the visit though, was this automaton fortune teller. “What does Grandma say?” It invites you to find out. When you put in a quarter she sort of rocks back and fourth a little bit, and her hand sweeps across the table, over her tarot cards.

This thing must be very old. The detailing is amazing, her hoop earrings, the diamante pin the wears in the centre of her collar, and her wrinkled, weathered face. I was really magical and wonderful.

Look at her jewelry and old fashioned blouse. It was a little hard to get good pictures because it was under a partition that was lit, so there were many reflections on the glass.

This booth was actually right next to that “Zoltan” or whatever-his-face-is, the genie fortune teller booth seen in the movie “Big” with Tom Hanks.  When I saw that this awesome grandma one was right next to it (and was probably even there first) I couldn’t believe that the movie used that stupid Zeutroy or Zantam guy instead of Grandma!  This thing is way more mystical and magical that the stupid genie, and don’t you think that the female, especially the older female mystic seems way more powerful than some guy in a stupid feathered hat?  Look at the pictures of her hands, and you’ll see the mystery and magic that’s there.

Her delicate, wrinkled hands move across the cards…

And the best part was her eyes, which were both broken and rolling back into her head.  It was very spooky and unnerving, like she was haunted.  It was really strange and powerful to look at her and watch her move, it was like seeing a ghost, or a dead person come to life.

Her smile and crazy eyes…she has seen a lot inside that booth. There’s a wavelength of energy you can tune into at this booth, I’m serious. Not very many people seemed interested in her. I was able to stay and photograph and put coins in for a long time.

I hope you have enjoyed these photos of Coney Island, dear reader, I was a magical place, really magical, more so than anything Disney could ever create.  Go to Coney Island and see what Grandma has to say…

Thrift Store Finds: Readymade Art

9 Apr

Sometimes while thrift store shopping or digging through garbage I find objects that are so beautiful and perfect that I believe they have achieved readymade art status.  For those who are not familiar with the term, according to the internet readymade art is defined as “an everyday object selected and designated as art”, a name that was coined by the French artist Marcel Duchamp.  The  notion of the art object as unique is destroyed in the act of declaring a mass produced commercial object as “art”.  And so, with that in mind, I present to you, dear reader, a selection of two recently found readymade art objects.

The first is a white ceramic piece, obviously the bottom half of a female figure.  I feel it is no mere coincidence that it shares it’s materiality with Duchamp’s famous “Fountain” urinal piece from 1917.  But, instead of having to perform the difficult labour of transformation Duchamp undertook in having to upend the urinal before declaring it art, (see wikipedia) I was spared this drudgery, as  someone else had already removed (i.e. stole) the top half of the figure by the time I got to it, leaving just the small but important step  of declaring the item “art” left to finish, which, I managed to find time to do.

To solidify it’s existence as a work of art, I shall give it this pretentious art title: Untitled (apparatus 3):

Untitled (apparatus 3), 2012
Approx 4"
readymade art object

 

 

The second readymade, or found art object I found was this fantastic set of lego-like blocks, each printed with a small image and some Chinese writing.  I loved the simple pop art line drawings and the colours, and it was convenient that it came in it’s own readymade frame; a plastic envelope that opened with snaps at the back!

Front of blocks set

Back of blocks set

 

Here are a few close-ups of my favorite blocks.  Bonus points for anyone who can tell me what the writing says!

The fish on the white block totally looks like it’s about to give a lecture, or make an announcement or something.  Actually, it seems kind of pissed, like it’s standing there with it’s hand on it’s hip about to totally deny some guy fish trying to pick it up in a bar. Am I right?  Come on ladies, you know what I’m talking about.

I have hung this plastic piece of goodness in a special place on my wall.  It is definitely a work of art, wouldn’t you agree?

Both of these objects d’art were found at Value Village, in Mississauga.

Value Village 3130 Dixie Rd. Mississauga, Ontario

Lady Heart’s Portfolio: Jewelry (well, not really)

8 Apr

In addition to my formal training as a sculpture/installation artist, I have also studied precious metal jewelry fabrication, though most of my work in that area did not result in wearable pieces of jewelry.  Rather, a look at the type of work I created necessitated a change in majors from jewelry to sculpture, as you will see here from my photos.  A common comment from my teachers at the time would be “How do you wear this work?” to which I would reply “oh no no, you actually nail it to the wall.”  End scene.

One of my first works was this black panther plate.  Approximately 9″ long from tail to teeth, this enameled copper sheet cat was set with turquoise cabochon stones to represent eyes, and features holes drilled at the perimeter to rivet the piece on something, a long clutch purse being what I had envisioned:

I was very pleased with the outcome of this piece, but it is not really jewelry, now is it?  In what area do you think a metal plate for a clutch purse falls, dear reader?

Next in my rebellious jewelry practice was this small cast tape cassette.  Carved out of hard jewelry wax, then molded and cast, this small, silver work measures approx. 1.25″ and is set with a small hole at each corner so it can be sewn or riveted to an item of clothing, or, like the cat, mounted on a purse:

It possesses the crudeness that is typical of my work (according to my professors), that I liked to misconstrue as “charming” and “intentional”.

And in the same vein, I created another small cassette piece, created from the aluminum from an Arizona Iced Tea can, as a solution to a project that required us to use garbage as the primary material.  It is a similar size as the above cassette.   In addition to the aluminum can I used silver tube rivets to suggest the tape spools.  This could be made into a pin if I attached a pin back to the other side, but I envisioned it as a small sculpture, something to squirrel away in a little box, or display in a little cabinet.

There you have it, jewelry, done sculpture style!  I suppose this result was inevitable for a jewelry student who doesn’t wear jewelry.  Stay tuned for the least jewelry-like piece I ever did soon!

Lady Heart Portfolio: Polaroids

4 Apr

There is something about Polaroids that give a picture that extra something.  The way the colours look sort of more reminiscent of an old photograph is one aspect of it, but also the fact that it is truly one of a kind, as you can never make prints of it.  Also, there is no zoom on the camera, and it will only focus sharply at certain distances, and you cannot edit the photo on a computer afterwards.  Therefore it is always a treat to get beautiful Polaroid pictures, and here are a few of my best shots.

The first two I took when I was down at the Toronto waterfront with a friend.  There were some swans in the water, and I was trying to photograph them, but they were too far away.  But soon, a great big one came right up in front of me, and lifted and fluffed it’s wings up, as if purposely posing for me.  It was quite a magnificent bird.

The posing swan

I was really happy with the photo, the way the light diffused across the water, giving it a soft focus, and the perfect composition of the swan off centre in the frame, but as an added bonus, I was also able to capture this beautiful moment:

The posing swan's bum

A lovely day by the water.

The next photo I would like to share with you, dear reader is a Polaroid I took of a butterfly that had landed on the hyssop growing in our front garden.

I was pleasantly surprised when the butterfly was the only thing in sharp focus in the picture, a nice focal point that was a happy accident when working with a camera with no manual focus, or display screen.  I hope you have enjoyed this photos, and check back again  for more self serving promotion soon!

Lady Heart Photography: Abandoned House

2 Apr

While visiting a friend I noticed the house next door.  It had obviously been empty a long time and had fallen into disrepair.  It was slated to be torn down soon.  I enjoy the sad beauty of urban decay, and I hope you will enjoy it too…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I only wish I could have gotten inside.

New Steel Sculptures By Miss Lady Heart

1 Apr

Here are some photos of some of my recent work; two steel sculptures of birds.

Untitled, 2011

Mig-welded steel

Approx 4″ x 1.5″

This small Mig-welded sculpture, made to represent a dead bird was created by free -form Mig-welding on top of some large steel bearings. I finished off by adding wire legs and feet that had been partially shaped with a spot welder. When held its weight and cold temperature are very evocative. Not to get too cliche but it is kind of poetic when a bird dies, no?

Untitled, 2011

Mig-welded steel,

aluminum

Approx 9″ tall

This bird was made with the same Mig-welding process but I welded steel sheet wings and a tail feather to the steel bearings before I sculpted with the Mig-welder. The bird’s perch is lathed aluminum. I love how the bird turned out looking all puffed up and huddled into itself the way birds look when they are cold or sleeping.