"Just one word...Plastics, Ben. There's a great future in plastics." - The Graduate
I grew up just a few miles down the road from the Plastics Capital of the World, birthplace of Tupperware and the plastic pocket comb. An ordinary place making ordinary things for ordinary people. There is something sexy about those 1960's ads with Tupperware parties and pocket combs. That candy colored plastic bowl with a snap on lid went on to become a cultural icon for an entire generation.
I am fascinated by the familiar.
There are deep rich stories buried in the simple stuff that surrounds us. The more common the object, the more I enjoy contemplating its secrets. Plastic is everywhere and sometimes, too much so. It’s easy to take for granted, that it will always be there. That it will always be cheap, expendable. When we toss something away, we also toss out ideas.
Once upon a time, someone had an idea.
They made a prototype and then convinced some one else to mass produce that idea. Someone bought wholesale and distributed retail, until finally the idea reached the hand of a consumer - me. From idea to simple plastic bag to my hand. For take out. For potatoes. For merchandise. For trash. Ubiquitous. Ephemeral. Disposable.
Who hasn’t touched one, owned one, used one, loved one, hated one, wanted one.
Abstracted from its original reality - which is my reality - it goes Rorschach with subliminal messages. It swirls into a Jurassic primordial sack and then cracks into an alien fractal landscape. Teetering ever so politely on the edge of fetish, it gives me Superman’s xray vision. It grows eyes that wink and legs that dance. It gets fresh. I feel petulant. I want to be a Bond girl with clear plastic boots, hat and dress.
Sometimes I blush at just how provocative a plastic bag can be.
About the lithographs
The image in the lithograph is created through a direct process of placing a plastic bag on a positive plate for a specified time under an exposure unit. The resulting lithograph plate is developed then printed multiple times on an offset press, with different viscosity of ink. Published by the artist.
Printed on a German 1958 Mailänder offset proofing press by master printer Francesco X. Siqueiros at El Nopal Press in Los Angeles, California.