Warhol’s “32 Campbell Soup Cans” Not Ads. These Aren’t Either.

Chicago artist Pamela Michelle Johnson likes to paint still lifes of food items on large canvases.
From her artist statement:

In the American Still-Life series, Johnson takes on another fixture of contemporary American life, and does so with no apologies. When confronted with a six-foot tall canvas of enormous and precariously balanced hamburgers, waffles, doughnuts, or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the viewer is forced to recognize that the work is about more than alluring junk food. Johnson’s fascination with the phenomena of mass-produced foods comes from viewing those artifacts of our culture as indicative of the state of the culture as a whole. Her goal is to invoke reflection on embracing a culture of complete and instant gratification while ignoring the consequences of our indulgences.

I totally hear all that and can’t quibble. But as a fan of Pop-Tarts, PB&Js, waffles and the rest, I also see her work as in a lighter context. In fact, if I was a brand manager on Pop-Tarts, I’d be tempted to misappropriate the meaning behind the work for my own purposes (or at least buy the original work and hang it in Kellogg’s offices). I mean, Johnson makes the product look good. Does she not?
[via Bad Banana]

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.