March 13, 2015

"In order to source her materials, Meza-DesPlas runs her fingers through her hair every morning, holding onto the strands that fall out."

"She also collects her hair from the shower and, when it’s time to get to work, she sorts it from shorter hairs to longer hairs. It’s become a ritual for her."
“I like the dichotomy of using hair because there’s the idea that hair can be sexy and engaging to people and then on the other hand it can be repulsive, like a hair in your soup or a hair on your hotel pillow,” Meza-DesPlas explained....

“Hair has an unruliness to it, we try to control it and make it do certain things and hair has a mind of its own, it snakes out when it wants to and does certain things when it wants to,” she said. “It has a sense of life to it and I feel like my drawings have a sense of life to them."
Making art out of things that are not art materials is a very old idea. The trick is to support the old idea with verbal bullshit. And I'm sure people have made drawings/paintings out of actual bull shit.

Googling for something to link to support my assertion that this is a very old idea, I found a Cracked listicle titled "7 Horrifying Uses of the Human Body to Create Art" ("#4. Drinking Painted Milk and Puking It Onto a Canvas"). And I'm not going to use this precious segment of a Friday morning to research all the feminist art that has been made from menstrual blood.

IN THE COMMENTS: Lemondog says "Nothing new just a different style," pointing to a page showing the work of modern day practitioners of something called Victorian hair art, which I'm guessing had something to do with remembering the dead, similar to hair in a locket, but much more labor intensive. Okay, here's "The Lost Art of Sentimental Hairwork":

Mrs. Hamlin of Omaha, Nebraska left a rather curious heirloom to her descendants—an intricately woven bouquet composed entirely of human hair. Buried deep inside, each of its flowers is numbered with a tiny label corresponding one of fifteen names written on a separate index card; those of herself and her loved ones. More than a century ago, each of these people offered up their locks of brown or gray—literally, pieces of themselves—to provide the material for what would become a lasting symbol family unity.

The weaver need not have been the eccentric that one might suppose. On the contrary, she was likely to have been a conventional middle class lady going about her fancywork. She may have included a lock of her own in the wreath, but quite possibly she did not, preferring instead to be present as the sum of its parts; the invisible weaver of family ties. As a good 19th century woman, the domestic harmony she fostered was an expression of herself; her self-portrait in sacrifice.
 So is Hamlin like Meza-DesPlas or different? To my eye, the differences overwhelm the similarities.


traditionalguy said...

Using materials to express art sounds old fashioned. Instead of hip it is more like the Cro-Magnon cave painters are back again.

Maybe she can have her own show and get rich.

Laslo Spatula said...

"The trick is to support the old idea with verbal bullshit."

I liked how Ed Gein didn't bother to gild his artistic lilies with post-modern conceptual explanations.

Human skin-as-furniture cover: let the viewer draw their own conclusions.

I am Laslo.

Wince said...

Reminds me of the side shows at Lollapalooza in the early 1990s, along with the circus freaks.

PB said...

Reminds me of the things they find in a serial killer's apartment after being caught.

Laslo Spatula said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

Another old fashioned Art tradition would be Bloody Mary's shrunken heads for sale in South Pacific. They had the hair still on the head the better to carry them with.

azbadger said...

Chris Ofili used elephant dung for his painting Holy Virgin Mary. It was part of the art exhibit Sensation in the late 90s.

lemondog said...

Nothing new just a different style.

But the Wooly Mammoth is looking for his hair to be returned.

Christy said...

Human hair embroidery is an ancient craft.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Charles Loeffler wrote a cantata in which a dead woman's hair is used to rehair a violin bow, though it's actually a viola d'amore in the piece.