“Duplicatable” Artworks: Artworks designed to simulate easily duplicatable and durable traditional folk art crafts and toys. “Dupe” art: by employing recognizable, mundane and tactile objects as the ‘host’ for my concepts I am able to ‘dupe’ a larger audience into engaging with my work.
Much of this work was created in the midst of my five year art project/social experiment called Vinnie’s Tampon Cases, in which I played the role of Vinnie the Tampon Case Distributor, giving away and selling my Tampon Cases in stores around the world to open up a dialog about menstruation. The idea of the TRICKSTER, the outsider who, using creative and wily ways, can subtly cause change and evolution, is essential to all of my work. Vinnie the Tampon Case Distributor was a Trickster—my socio-political motivations were never revealed, but through the dense character I played, I was able to convince even the most macho guys to comfortably ask women questions about one of our society’s most taboo topics: women’s periods.
In this role as the TRICKSTER tampon case distributing artist I purposefully included narrative elements that were sentimentally autobiographical and usually pertaining to societal blind-spots that are rarely addressed in contemporary art: women’s safety, menstruation, sexual lubrication, women’s sexual satisfaction, and the trials and tribulations of operating a cottage industry.
Materials: To further embellish the role as the outsider I purposefully worked with materials that are considered lo-art and/or craft materials: quilting, children’s toys, magnets, fabric, etc. All objects I created were required to be durable, duplicatable and quasi-functional beyond being simply a wall hanging or sculptural curio.
• The FOAM FRAMES show (Kravets/Wehby Gallery, 21st St., NYC) This show of faux animation cells (digital C-prints) mounted in custom silk-screened faux-wood foam frames chronicled the trials and tribulations of being a tampon case vendor/salesman, the complications of good intentions vs. commerce, and the constant struggle with identity. I was also exploring questions about the value of art, the purpose of connecting with the viewer, the cultural importance of storytelling, and the meaning of transgression. Again as the Trickster, I employ perhaps the most populist American art form in addressing these big questions: the cartoon. By using the Disney-esque language of cartoon (faux animation cells), my images ensnare a wider range of viewers.
• BIG BELT WRESTLERS (John Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia)- a set of 24 interchangeable stacking blocks. One side depicted Pro Wrestlers (from the 50’s-70’s; Rick Flair, Honky Tonk Man, The Fabulous Moolah, Mil Masceras, etc.) and the other side depicted animals smoking cigarettes (slug, dog, bear, bird, rabbit). The gallery visitor was encouraged to play with the blocks. The blocks tested the theory that Americans prefer the distraction of colorful entertainment such as Pro Wrestling than to face or be faced with the steady and dangerous human-caused environmental degradations. And, to think, these blocks were created when Al Gore was still wiping Bill Clinton’s nose in the White House.
• HOPPITY HORSES (Kravets/Wehby Gallery, 21st St., NYC) silk-screen of fabric stuffed and mounted on found broomsticks. Fully functional and eminently ridable hoppity horses (see video). Sewn and constructed by Brooklyn artist Edward del Rosario.