Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fake Cakes Part 1: Wayne Thiebaud

Last June, I wrote about my infatuation with fake cakes and my love for the "California aesthetic" of Wayne Thiebaud meets Ed Ruscha. This summer, I do not have a big trip planned but I am in the process of saving up money and writing grants to do something BIG next year. I have had an idea that I cannot shake and this week I have started the research and will begin constructing the parts. Wayne Thiebaud plays a very large role.

I have known about Wayne Thiebaud long before I knew of Ed Ruscha. He was a big influence on my father as they both hailed from Southern California. One of my first encounters with Thiebaud was in my Drawing 1 class at Boise State University when my professor (Dad) had us draw Candy Ball Machine in pastels. I still have that drawing somewhere in Astoria, Oregon and haven't seen it in years.

In 2000, I saw the Wayne Thiebaud: A Paintings Retrospective exhibition at the Fort Worth Modern and was introduced to the classics like Five Hot Dogs but also new images that I hadn't seen before like Girl with Ice Cream Cone, a portrait of Thiebaud's second wife Betty Jean.

In addition, I was enthralled with his hand painted boxes like Ice Cream Cone from 1966 (as I am with most artists who use found wooden boxes in their work).

I was also amazed that a painting like Reservoir could resemble cake glaze to such a degree.

Indirectly, I can see that the above painting certainly was an inspiration in creating my favorite photograph of the entire "Earthworks Road Trip American West" last year.

I don't necessarily love doughnuts; i love their aesthetic. They were perfect for that afternoon at the Thunderbird Hotel in Marfa, Texas (above left).

When I was researching fake cakes last year, I was generally appalled at how unlike Wayne Thiebaud's they were. I could buy a styrofoam cake dummy if I wanted but all the other cakes looked like an Albertson's concoction overly decorated with too many flowers. These were not the fake cakes I was initially inspired by! About that time, one of my favorite blogs linked to this image below of the Blue Bottle Coffee Bar in SFMOMA's Rooftop Garden. Real cakes that resembled Thiebaud's paintings!

Of course you can't beat Sharon Core's photographs of real Thiebaud cakes either (here is Various Cakes from 2004):

So I started formulating plans to make them... Here are my inspirations:

This month and next I am going to construct nine fake cakes (of course I still have to have an ode to Ed Ruscha in this series). The bases will be foam with thickly coated acrylic frosting resembling the simplicity of shape in some of the desserts above as well as replicating the colors. As usual, this will entail a little help from my friends beginning with Dr. Natalie Phillips, Contemporary Art History professor extraordinaire, who also shares my love for fake desserts by creating fake cake jewelry in her spare time. This is the lovely wedding cake ring she gave me last year.

This summer I plan on floating these creations in nine bodies of water. I am not relegating myself to only swimming pools (I have a need to expand) but there will be some featured. Incidentally, the first body of water is indeed a swimming pool. The main rule is that the water must still be enticing and it must be CLEAR (after all, I don't touch brown water if at all possible = seriously so that pretty much eliminates rivers in this part of the country). I have a wide variety of resources at my disposal: lakes and oceans mainly and I am going to take some cues from Nancy involving swimming pool trespassing. Each one will be posted on this blog. First stop below (well I can't reveal the exact location since I will be trespassing but you better believe that it sure the hell isn't located in Indiana):

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