Raku Pop: Karen Shapiro

19 Mar

Isn’t it funny how seeing an object from our past will immediately take us back to a certain time and place?  It seems that we have an innate sense of nostalgia within us, whether we relate our memories to a place, an object, a film, a piece of music.  Ceramic artist Karen Shapiro, after working for years as a pastry chef, now creates raku concoctions of iconic products from long ago and what will soon be past.

Animal Crackers, raku, 14.5x8.5

Just looking through the images of her work, memories come flooding back.  As a young girl, I used to love to buy Barnum’s Animal Cracker boxes.  It was like a little purse with cookies inside?!  What could be better?

Noxzema, raku, 10x10

As with any Pop Art, Shapiro puts her own spin on her recreated icons.  These effigies are literally larger than life, as you can see in the Starbucks image ( below ), just as the cultural staples often come to symbolize not just a product, but an era.  Her use of raku, an ancient process whose temperature change causes characteristic crazing or cracking, gives a nod to the temporal nature of the more contemporary icons.

Starbucks Coffee, raku, 10x14

Prozac, raku, 15x4.5

I’m quickly coming to an age where the pop culture and products that populated my past are reaching iconographic status.  It does make me wonder how future generations will look back on us and all that we have consumed.  Will it be with disdain or idyllic fascination?

Campbell's Soup, raku, 8.5x15

To see more of Karen Shapiro’s work, please visit her website.

This artist found via Daily Dolan Geiman.

PS– I still occasionally treat myself to a box of animal crackers!

Featured image is Chiclets ( wall piece ), raku, 25x11x1.75.  All images are via the artist’s website.

5 Responses to “Raku Pop: Karen Shapiro”

  1. barbaraelka March 19, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    people do change careers…love animal crackers

    • Lesley March 19, 2012 at 11:35 am #

      It’s never too late to pursue what you love!

  2. thoughtsontheatre March 19, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    This is just wonderful. Good for her for going for it.

  3. patience March 19, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

    sometimes i feel like my whole childhood is wrapped up in watching my mother apply noxema.

    and eating prozac

    just kidding about the prozac!

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