DESIGN: You Will Make a Cool Grandma One Day
by Raymond Herrera
Growing up, I remember the tchotchkes that different older women collected. Our baby sitter collected clowns; a high school sweet heart’s mom collected cow themed stuff, that rivaled any curated exhibition I have seen in its attention to detail, throughout her kitchen – including a set of udders I custom painted on her ceiling; and another who was obsessed with pig themed objects; and my grandma… elephants carved out of marbles, R.I.P. abuelita Grecia. This article is dedicated to these women.
If I were to ever have those tendencies, which I don’t, but hypothetically speaking, I might have a special place for modern porcelain. Unless you were one of the aforementioned collector types, most items in Latino porcelain collections usually had in common only the material they’re made of. Many of which came from centerpieces at quinceañeras or weddings. A diverse collection of weird European people wearing knickerbockers, LOVE IS… figurines, animals, maybe Jesus and friends, or something that depicts our ethnic identities.
There are many types of projects that find inspiration in nostalgia. The following porcelain art works are contemporary examples of this with the very commonly used material. Ultimately I always advise people to mix it up. Collecting too much of anything will not show your friends what an interesting and diverse person you are.
French artist NooN collabed with K.Olin tribu to create the flower print porcelain skulls. The artist only created 50 each in black and red. It’s still a skull and of course bad ass, but your girlfriend will totally dig the elegance of the hand crated floral design.
Idea by Kate McDowell is just one of the many supernatural creatures and anthropomorphic objects she creates, most of which would have a place in my make believe shelving unit filled with a procelain Island of Misfit Toys. This piece probably depicts how sounds grow into thoughts and concepts once it passes the ear drum like plants.
The Porcelain Pistols are replicas of James Bond’s Walther PPK and its contemporary sister, the P99, with the permission of Carl Walther Inc, creators of the hand guns. Designed by Yvonne Lee Schultz the pieces are to kill for. Who wouldn’t want to do tea in London with this set? Hi Bianca!
This series, The Good The Bad The Belle, explores ideas of lost youth in today’s society. The work looks at eating habits, violence, education, gang culture and perceptions of childhood. “The original figurines used are chocolate box images of childhood where even a street urchin is depicted as a romantic notion. The process of updating these figures plays as much of an important role in the work as the completed pieces,” says artist Barnaby Barford. While the work is quite provocative, it merely reflects modern day situations through a nostalgic filter.
Japanese ceramic artist Harumi Nakashima is best known for his spotted free-form sculptures, this one taking the form of and endless sea creature. The bold graphics of the polka dot pattern perfectly balances these organic compositions and make this a unique series.
Ron English is a contemporary agit-pop artist who uses popular brand imagery and advertising in his work, which often involves ‘liberating’ commercial billboards with his own messages. The black and white MC Supersized figurine is a different take on his Ronald McDonald meets Buddah that is typical of his work, which often includes advertising icons flipped against the corporations they were meant to represent.
Fragile yet able to take whatever shape and color an artist can imagine, porcelain doesn’t have to be what your grandmother dusted off every once in a while. Contemporary artists are making sure that you have little excuse to not appreciate most genres of creativity, including the never fading, always popular, tchotchke market. I picture the next ones saying, “Grandma(pa)’s weird, but (s)he’s pretty dope, as they used to say, LOL.”