Sydney-based artist Mechelle Bounpraseuth crafts life-sized ceramics that explore her identity as a first-generation daughter of Laotian refugees. Her small and glossy ceramic artwork, which ranges from drink cans to widely known sauces, explores her connection with her past and how branded ingredients are rooted in culinary culture and rituals.
Bounpraseuth was raised a Jehovah’s Witness, and despite many fond memories of her family and childhood, her religion discouraged her from pursuing artistic pursuits. She left the religion in her 20s and got married, realizing that her dream of becoming an artist was possible and that she didn’t have to succumb to the person her religion had wanted her to be.
Her creativity initially began from drawing and creating zines, before Bounpraseuth enrolled in a ceramics course and began crafting functional objects. Noticing her talent for the medium, her tutor encouraged her to pursue work with more artistic flair. She began to expand on her drawings of household objects by recreating them in clay and glossy bright colors.
One of Bounpraseuth’s ceramics is a Heinz Ketchup bottle, a condiment found in many family fridges and cupboards throughout the world. For the artist, the sauce represents the memory of her family eating pho together, a ritual in which they would come together and make the recipe from scratch with a dollop of ketchup. These sculptural forms are meaningful symbols to Bounpraseuth as the pho was a labor of love and would take her family all day to make.
Through the creation of these domestic objects from her past, Bounpraseuth uses her artwork as a way to reflect upon and process her childhood memories and as a way to navigate her old and new identities. These pieces illustrate how some values remain passed down from generations, like Bounparseuth’s reference to her family’s shared domesticity, while some core aspects of family, like religion, are not always.
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“How to Make Sushi” outlines all the necessary tasks to assemble maki: slice your fish, spread the rice, bleed from avocado hand, sweat all over your workspace, spend years agonizing over perfection, and finally, slice your roll into bite-sized pieces. Enjoy?
Made by London-based director and 3D designer Jonathan Lindgren, the humorous animation provides a quirky look at mastering a craft. It’s complete with the basic kitchen skills like cleaning a knife and gathering ingredients, in addition to more emotional labor like ending a romantic relationship and rising early each day.
Lindgren said the instructional project began in 2018 when he created a few frames based on the lives of sushi chefs. After consulting with Luke Brown from The Soundery on a score and actor Yoshi Amao, the director created the short film. “Always being inspired by Japanese animation, this turned into an emulation of many years of reading manga and watching anime. Also seeing how the amazing craftsmanship and graphic design was used in Isle of Dogs definitely influenced me a lot while making this,” he said.
Find more of Lindgren’s amusing animations on Vimeo, and check out his other creative work on Behance and Instagram. You might also want to watch this time-lapse of the making of Isle of Dogs’s sushi scene. (via Uncrate)
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Domestic Perfectionism Overwhelms Faceless Women in a Satirical Series by Photographer Patty Carroll
Patty Carroll’s homebound snapshots are the epitome of domestic pressure: A high-heeled working woman tries to cook and chat on the phone but ends up amid scattered kitchen supplies with her head stuck in the oven. Mops and rags knock another figure down into a sea of neon sponges and cleaning sprays. Two seated women are obscured by constricting drapes and an inordinate amount of fresh produce.
The photographer’s four-part Anonymous Women series is comprised of highly stylized scenes featuring a faceless mannequin attempting—and failing to complete—a range of duties. They’re humorous commentary on the pressure modern women continually face to achieve domestic perfection while excelling professionally and caring for others.
The interior of the home is comforting, but can also camouflage individual identity, especially when the idealized decor becomes an obsession, or indication of position or status…. The “constructed” images in the ongoing series are of home turned inside out, where things are topsy-turvy and scale is variable. Decoration is out of control, and the woman of the house is lost in her own madness.
Carroll began the satirical project after moving to Britain and finding her professional accomplishments disregarded. “Being known as Mrs. Jones rather than the independent, teacher, photographer Patty Carroll sent me into a small identity crisis. I made photographs of vulnerable, stark heads hiding behind various domestic objects as my initial response to this predicament,” she said in a recent interview with Aint-Bad.
One installment of the series, “Domestic Demise,” touches on contemporary issues of consumption, as well, and “is when the woman becomes a victim of her own obsessions and activities. She is no longer in control and life is a series of mishaps and mayhem,” the photographer said. Having too many books, too many items lining the pantry shelves, and too many alcoholic drinks overwhelm the women.
Carroll previously employed models for her drapery series, but as her scenarios got more complex and took longer to shoot, she switched to mannequins. She constructs each chaotic scene within an 8 x 8 frame. Her influences include “colorful vintage movies, traditional still-life paintings, decorating magazines, my suburban upbringing, the game of clue, and even Victorian writing,” she wrote in a statement.
Since being confined to her home due to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic and because of a recent appendectomy, Carroll says the mundane and oppressive requirements of domestic life are inescapable. “It is hard to ponder larger issues when we are confined to our homes and are concerned with the everyday, seemingly meaningless issues of cooking, cleaning, eating, sleeping, and what is on Netflix for entertainment,” she said. “Nevertheless, all of my photographs are about those simple, ordinary, yet overwhelming tasks that we carry out every day.”
For more of Carroll’s identity-questioning work, pick up her recently released monograph that’s available from Aint-Bad and or a photograph from Catherine Couturier Gallery. Watch videos of the draped women as they attempt their domestic duties on Vimeo, and follow Carroll’s upcoming projects on Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
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While many of us slather our toast with butter day-after-day, Manami Sasaki is transforming thick slices of bread into Zen Japanese rock gardens and Pantone swatches that make breakfast into the most jubilant meal of the day. A watercolor artist turned toast connoisseur, the Japanese designer combines the stocks available in her fridge and pantry to assemble delightful bread-based creations.
In a patch of flowers, she adorns a tomato-sauce base with margarine petals and mint leaves that are finished with mustard details. Another dense slice is torn and reassembled with edible gold before being smothered in sour cream and garnished with ketchup to resemble Kintsugi, the Japanese art of pottery repair.
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With Jun Aizaki’s latest design, you could be picking up your morning latte poured into a dried gourd rather than a disposable adorned with a green siren. The Brooklyn-based designer, who owns CRÈME, recently launched a project to reduce single-use plastic waste by shaping the flowering fruit into simple drinking vessels. Heading The Gourd Project, Aizaki created both a cup and a flask that can hold hot and cold liquids and are an alternative to traditional products. After three to six uses, the containers can be composted with other food waste.
Aizaki “explored the century-old craft of drying plants to make receptacles, in order to find a way to reduce plastic and contribute to nature through design,” project organizers said. Each biodegradable vessel takes about six weeks to grow from its first planting at a Pennsylvania farm with six harvests each year. Because gourds have tough skin and fibrous insides, they’re shaped easily as they fill out. Each 3D mold is made of plastic right now, although the team hopes to switch to reusable materials once it expands production.
The sustainable project comes amid reports that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is increasing plastic consumption and affecting how, and if, the material is recycled, in addition to companies banning reusable cups and containers to stop the spread of the virus.
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The latest humorous invention by Joseph Herscher designed to maintain social distancing practices during a meal might abide by the six-foot rule, but it definitely requires a little bit of patience, especially for those who are super hungry. The Rube Goldberg-esque sequence in “Pass The Pepper: Social Distancing is Nothing to Sneeze At” spans about five minutes in a ridiculous series of reactions that include balls rolling down shoots, spaghetti cooking half-way, and a horrifying coffee spill on an open laptop.
Herscher bills the comical system as a “fool-proof method for completely safe, germ-free passing of condiments across the table.” To see more of the New York-based creator’s eccentric machines, head to Instagram and YouTube. Check out his salt sequence, too.
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