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Brittany Ballinger (BFA '12)

Published April 23, 2012

Cycles and Structures, Acrylic, Wood, and Animation, 3×6 ft

“Coming from a big city, art and design has infiltrated my daily life since I was young. The volume of billboards and strip malls that devour the landscape provide an inescapable convenience. We are drawn to indulge in these conveniences through design.

In the city, design is the machine that makes life easier, and more aesthetically pleasing. It is what drives people into shopping malls and boutiques, and lures them into buying beautiful cars and houses. Although design is not mutually exclusive with consumerism, it plays a fundamental part in why society is drawn to the “finer things.” I’m inspired in the way design effects our lives and how the shapes of buildings and signs signify places of business. To me these structures are iconic, just as iconic as Marilyn Monroe or Jesus Christ; they are unmistakable houses of buying and throwing away: an overbearing cycle of instant gratification. These iconic structures are absolutely recognizable not only by their shape but also because of the bright lights that mark them. As moths are constantly drawn to light, consumers are the same, never really straying away from spending and lured into these neon-decorated icons. Spending has become a tradition, and it has shaped the way society functions. Consumerism has pushed its way into every stitch of our lives. As consumers we flock to these selling structures because we are told, “we need it”, where the use of need and want are interchangeable. This goes on with a total disregard for the origins of these products and where they will eventually end up. A phenomenon of this consumer culture created around these iconic structures is the practice of giving material goods as a sign of affection. With my art, I’d like to explore the language of consumerism and its effects from the banal to the extreme.”

Brittany Ballinger