This project was my final major project for year 2 and I decided to create a project based around the effect of sugar on society, politics and culture. I could either take this in a literal form, how sugar affects the body and mind or in a metaphorical form in terms of the sugar coating of certain stories within the media. I was inspired to work on this concept by the first two artists I came across, one was Timothy Horn, who created grand sculptures using crystallized sugar over antiques such as a carriage and a chandelier. I was inspired by his use of sugar to coat historical objects, sugar coating history as it were, I was also inspired by Australian artist duo Pip and Pop. Pip and Pop create fantasy sugar galaxies as floor installations made from coloured sugar and other sweet things, I was inspired by both of these artists to explore sugar as a material and a concept. Throughout this project I have researched a range of artists who either use sugar within their imagery or as their material, it was necessary for me to do extensive artist research to be sure I covered as many avenues I could possibly take, I looked at Mark Ryden; a pop surrealist who uses a sugary style of painting to convey negative imagery. I also looked a surrealist painter Rudy Fig who uses imagery of cakes and sweets to convey sexual connotations. I had 3 main ideas that I wanted to work on at the start of this project, one was featuring the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un because he puts forth a sugary image of himself upon his people, expects them to worship him as a god yet under the surface he was far from sweet and committed hideous crimes against his people and his own family. The story that inspired this idea was that he had his own uncle killed by feeding him to 120 starving dogs. The idea of sugar coating Kim Jong Un’s evil deeds were apparent in world wide media because stories of his deeds were either removed after a few days with no intervention from other countries, or not reported on television at all such as the case where he then shot all of his uncles remaining family. My second idea revolved around the ideas of sugar being used a tool of bribery in modern day society, and while I liked this idea I felt it didn’t have as much research possibility and depth as my first idea, I also wanted to address a political theme in this project because I have never done so before and it would be a new challenge. My 3rd idea was a contemporary installation idea based upon ceramic hands offered forth candy and sweets to the public to see if they ignore their own advice to never take sweets from strangers, and be tempted into doing something they deem as wrong for the sake of greed, this idea didn’t have much I could research so I decided to go with the political North Korean idea. This was my favourite idea and the one I was most passionate about. I researched other artists at this point such as Osamu Watanabe and Scott Hove who create sugary displays using synthetic sweets, which is something I considered doing because Kim Jong’s supposed sweetness was all synthetic and only upon the surface, whilst underneath he is sly and cruel. I designed a piece that showcases Kim as a king of candyland as it were, because he sugar-coats his own image to the public and that of his country’s welfare. I wanted to make an elaborate statement piece, and inspired by Osamu Watanabe’s creations I decided to create a 6ft elaborate baroque frame referencing his wealth and power, entirely decorated with sweets and piping. In side would be a portrait of Kim Jong, cuddling sweet animals and being adored by his people who are represented as gingerbread men, because he see’s them as a throwaway object that can just be replaced. The frame would melt down into a sugary puddle, to reference the illusion of his sweetness melting away, to show the sweet animals conducting the crime he is most famed for, tearing his uncle apart, I didn’t want this to be obvious so it distracted from the sweet image above, but I wanted to show his illusion fading beneath the painting. To create this piece I performed many experiments before deciding on my materials, if I were to do this piece again I may try experimenting with colouring silicone instead of just using plain white to ice with. I really enjoyed using silicone and a piping nozzle to create the frame and then decorating it, it was the most fun part of the project. Creating the painting was challenging and whilst there are aspects I am not happy with, it took me outside my comfort zone as I usually draw rather than paint. I enjoyed this project, it was a lot of fun to create and experiment with entirely new materials and it has led me to want to continue “icing” things as it were and I am currently icing a chandelier just for fun. Also as my first political piece I am really pleased with the outcome, and hope it is obvious enough to the public what its about, but I think it shows a corrupt world leader and his sugar coated portrayal of himself well and I cant think of a better way of doing it if I were to do it again.
below are some images of my piece, before it was set up at college: