I came across Jarod Charzewski and Derick Melander‘s work recently, and was at first stuck by the array of colors and textures produced from all of the layers and layers of second hand clothing compiled into art. Both artist’s work intends to call to mind how clothes are a part of our life stories, a part of our personal landscape; and also how much waste we produce. These are all second hand and donated clothes, and it’s very easy to see just by walking into any thrift store just much unwanted and unused clothing there is out there. You can see it just by looking into your own closet. I know I personally have a ton of clothes I no longer wear for a number of reasons.
They start to create mountains in my own room, start to creep into corners and crevices. I don’t know what to do with them all sometimes. Yet, I know I still wouldn’t hate new things (or new to me). These clothes I don’t wear, some are just not “me” anymore. Wearing them feels like masquerading as a past version of myself. At the same time I’m wary both of buying more, and of my role as a designer, when I think about all those clothes that go unsold and end up in the trash. We’re consumers, but so much is often produced by the glut of clothing manufacturers that there are no homes for them all. No real use (unless, maybe, more people ship them to countries where people don’t have enough – which already happens to an extent). They take over. They take up space. Clothes are a part of our personal history, but they also create waste. They become a part of a physical landscape.
They also, more whimsically, remind me a bit of the fairy-tale of The Princess and the Pea, where a young woman arrives on a prince’s doorstep soaked from a storm and claims to be princess (with no on-hand proof) seeking a place to stay for the night is put to a test (unbeknownst to her) by being required to sleep atop 20 mattresses under which a single pea rests. The idea being that only a princess would be sensitive enough to feel a tiny little pea from underneath so many layers and therefore experience a terrible night’s sleep.
Perhaps someone should create a new fairy-tale of sorts… a kind of merging and melding of The Princess and the Pea and the early 90’s quest to save a rain forest fairy tale (with literal fairies) Fern Gully. Maybe it would be about something like a world after we’ve become so overcome with trash…but in this world the trash and excess has been merged artfully “beautifully” into the landscape… eventually overtaking it. Clothes mountains….newspaper buildings, etc. They’ve replaced the real thing, and it’s interesting to look at, and people forget the real trees and nature and so on and just accept this pseudo man-made nature. But maybe there’s a girl so sensitive she can feel a lone (some kind of) plant seed buried beneath…maybe she digs it up and has no idea what it is… and goes on some sort of quest to find out. But the world has covered our past of natural trees and mountains and etc up. So it’s quite a task. Quite a task indeed.
I shall have to think more about this possible story. Hmm.