Monday, October 19, 2009

So Cute... I'm Getting All Faklempt

I am going to try and keep it under control here, but holy monkeys, I love cute things. I don't think I am alone here. Japan has Kawaii, which is cuteness embraced at the national level, and New York has these simply amazing lottery advertisements. If you haven't seen these commercials, you really should look them up. There are bunnies in people clothes doing people things in miniature environments. I just can't handle all the fluff!

So I figure that it is time to give a shout out to cute art. First of all, it is so smart from a commercial standpoint (kinda important if you want to make rent each month). Cute stuff sells. You can have a cute painting up in your house and not worry what your Great Auntie Mable is going to say when she comes over to visit; don't lie, you know that you have one piece in your collection that is too much of a conversation starter for family viewing. And then cute things are just plain fun. They tap into a childlike mental state we all have where you can just like something without having an intellectual or conceptual justification for it.

Let's take a look at Florentijn Hofman, Dutch artist whose globe trotting, ginormous duckie is pictured above, Rubber Duck In Osaka, 2009. Hofman's work varies in theme (always whimsical but not always cute animals) however, everything is always done on a large scale. I think this is a great strategy to keep things from getting too cloying and also giving just enough of an innovative edge. Still, large works means lots of money--not something an unestablished artist can easily attempt. So let's try at cute on a smaller scale...

Check out Inhae, an artist from Berkley who is now the notorious chronicler of My Milk Toof. The story line goes like this: you loose your baby teeth/milk teeth when you are a kid and they wander off to who knows where (I unfortunately do know; my mom has them in a jar next to old house keys...shudder), then one day Inhae's teeth show up with faces and personality, and now they all live together and Inhae records their misadventures on her blog My Milk Toof. These 'teeth' are made of polymer clay and are essentially props for some rather adorable photography. The artistic innovation here is using the Internet as a gallery and the blog becomes the actual art piece.

But what if you prefer a hermit, bunker style studio with no Internet access? We have you covered!! Amigurumi is the Japanese art of making cute, crocheted, stuffed figurines with anthropomorphic features. Here in the US I guess this is more of an Indie craft thing, but in Japan it is a full on art form. I think Amigurumi is one of those things that could be just a fun decoration, but it has the potential to be flushed out into an interesting installation or creepy/adorable public art project.

Or you could just train cats to dance with each other while wearing bloomers and top hats.

Go and hassle the Hofman:
See Toof on Toof action:
Your daily fiber art:

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