Monday, 6 June 2011

Thinking Inside the Box.

My latest work in progress got me thinking about my penchant for putting my ideas in boxes, and how it all began.

More recently I've been challenging myself to branch out from my fine art student 'art for art's sake' mentality to create things that whilst still arty, have a function -hence the little trinket boxes as above.

But it's not all about functionality. It's memories of my jewellery boxes as a child, especially the one with the plastic ballerina that played 'Some Day My Prince Will Come' (he did by the way, after a heck of a lot of frogs!). It's like my mum's pewter 'treasure chest' ornament, which I broke by filling with beads and burying in the garden. It's my plastic vanity case which when I was a kid housed a toy hairdryer, brushes and curlers -which I punked up when I was about 17 with stickers and a snakeskin lining.

Boxes conceal, but also protect. And for me there's something really lyrical about a box and the secrets inside.

People who know me know I've always been a hoarder, and that nothing has changed now. When I was on my art foundation at Doncaster College my workspace was nicknamed by a fellow student Karen 'the table that taste forgot', owing to the multifarious bits of junk I'd gathered up from home and brought in to serve as my muses -hideous dolls from Mega Girl lucky bags, seashells, my pearls from when I was a bridesmaid, dancing medals, beads, bits of Barbies, ornaments inherited from Grandma...the list goes on.

 A tutor suggested to me that I look to Joseph Cornell for inspiration. I think he wanted to see me at least make use of the rubbish I'd cluttered the studio with. But it wasn't until I went to uni that I really got chance -stimulated by possibly one of the most important exhibitions -for me -that I've ever had the pleasure to visit -Peter Blake's 'About Collage' at the Tate Liverpool in 2000/01-which featured not only Blake's homages to Cornell, but also examples of Cornell's boxes. 

I went two, if not three times.

There is real magic in this reclusive, self-taught artist's aesthetic -the dream-like juxtaposition of images and objects.

Feast your eyes and let your imagination run away with you.

I am convinced that like me Cornell intended part of the art to be in viewers creating their own meanings. And a while back, when fellow crafter and blogger Mary-Jane from Voodooville featured my Little Red Riding Hood themed 'Happy Never After', and described my work as  'so like Joseph Cornell's stuff, but with a twist', she could only guess as to how much of a compliment that would be to me.

So Joseph, you fight for that special place as my most favouritist artist -rivalled only by Hans Bellmer, Max Ernst and lovely Tracey Emin.

And I now, and forever will remain a boxy lady.

Stay Strange xxx

(thanks to the Cornell images)