Thursday Salute to Originals: Anthropomorphism
As adults, its fun to reminisce on our childhoods and remember when our biggest responsibility was to play. A lot of that play revolved around toys. But it was usually only a matter of time before tragedy struck and a toy was broken. (You would have thought the world was ending when Stretch Armstrong overextended himself, or when Barbie’s leg was accidentally disjointed or her arm dislodged). With baited breath we would wait to see if our parents could fix our beloved toy, but if they could not… They usually wound up in the trash. Luckily, one person’s trash is another’s treasure. Austrailian artist, Freya Jobbins, has come up with a quirky – and somewhat freakish – way to repurpose poor Barbie’s arms and legs: Anthropomorphism.
Jobbins sculpts humanoid busts and portraits out of discarded children’s toys – dolls, Barbies, action figures – to express the relationship that exists between consumerism and the culture of upcycling and recycling. Due to the materialistic age children are now growing up in, discarded and broken toys are in no shortage.
She draws inspiration for her work from Italian artist Guiseppe Arcimboldo who paints fruit and vegetable portraits, German anatomist Gunther Von Hagen, and the Toy Story Trilogy.
It is easy to appreciate the amount of work that Jobbins delegates to creating each piece. The way she explores the formation and the use of color to (creepily) resemble humanity is no simple task. However, Jobbins is often playful with her art, creating more than just portraits and busts dedicated to humans. She frequently conjures works depicting social icons and cartoon characters.
Jobbins describes the irony aired in her art on her website, saying, “I am interested in generating a range of responses to existing cultural objects, which have been placed out of context. The irony of my plastic works is that I take a material that was created to be touched, and I make it untouchable as an artwork.”
We salute Freya Jobbins today for turning common child’s play into strange and ironic works of art, and for making us think twice about the frequency in which we discard plastic objects. We know for sure we’ll never look at Barbie’s poor broken leg the same way again!