The first, from dancer Macy Sullivan, drew on illuminati eyes and set the course for the unibrow thread ... the second, from actor Daniel Pettrow, illustrated the power of the single brow and got us singing 'Tears of a Clown', once more:
As our mirth abated, we pondered the power of the unibrow. This drew us straight towards a true icon, artist, visionary and feminist ... Frida Kahlo, who once wrote:
"I wish I could do whatever I liked behind the curtain of “madness”.
Then: I’d arrange flowers, all day long, I’d paint; pain, love and
tenderness, I would laugh as much as I feel like at the stupidity of
others, and they would all say: “Poor thing, she’s crazy!” (Above all I
would laugh at my own stupidity.)"
The madness of the world seems to reflect in kate. We position her as an icon, an artist, a visionary and - believe it or not - even sometimes as a feminist. Some have analyzed this in interesting and certainly valid ways (e.g. see Daisy Buchanan's interesting take on the representation of kate on her 40th birthday, and her influence, "I don't think Kate Moss is an icon") and ishotkatemoss challenges you to google "kate moss feminist" and not feel depressed by the amount of time and energy spent on debating this topic in academic settings ...
We quite simply think of the idea of kate, in many ways, as a false idol.
As such, we pondered how this could be reflected in the context of our project. Why not simply do what Macy and Daniel had done, using the power of the most important unibrow? So we did:
Shortly after posting this image on instagram we were reminded of where the unibrow first becomes embedded in the childhood psyche ... Bert, from Bert & Ernie! From "The Muppet Show: Connie Stevens (#1.2)" (1977): Ernie: Thank you, thank you, thank you. Gee, it's really great to be here. Right, Bert? Bert: Ah, I guess so. Ernie: Oh, what's wrong, Bert? Bert: Well, I mean, I feel funny being here, this is a big TV variety show, you know? Ernie: So? Bert: I'm no performer. Ernie: Oh, Bert. A suave, sophisticated showman like you, Bert? Bert:
Oh, sure, sure. I know you. You're gonna keep on saying I'm suave and
sophisticated, and then when I start to believe it, then you're gonna
say how pointy head I have, and how floppy arms I have, and how dull I
am, I know you. Ernie:
Bert, you must admit, though, Bert, that the head up there is a
little bit pointy, Bert. And you must admit that the arms are a little
bit floppy and soggy, Bert. And Bert? [pulls off Bert's nose] Ernie: The nose is still loose Bert. Bert: Cut that out! Ernie: Oh, I'm sorry, Bert, here. There you go, Bert. [puts Bert's nose back on his face] Bert:
See what I mean? I mean that old loose-nose joke is funny on Sesame
Street, but this is big-time, Ernie. I mean they're expecting an act or
Hey, Bert, wait a minute. You can do an act. All you need are the
clothes Bert. Come over here, Bert! Step right here, Bert!
Why not? We can use the detachable nose, get Bert the clothes and use another iconic unibrow? Bert: Ernie, why must you always humiliate me? Ernie: C'mon, Bert. Somebody has to play MaMa, and you lost the toss. Bert: Oh, well, just get it over with.
Bert: Ernie? Ernie, come here... did I just make a complete fool of myself? Ernie: [patting Bert's shoulder] Absolutely, Bert. Bert: Take me home. I feel terrible.
Through this exploration, we stumbled upon the work of Jen Allanson,
for whom we sent hungry eyes, as we looked longingly towards a berry dessert.
Upon further exploration, we found that there was a great deal more that met
the eyes, and stomach.
Jen Allanson runs a training and development business in
Liverpool, UK. When she is not doing that, she heads to her studio in an old
dock warehouse, which she shares with more than 20 artists, and creates a wide
variety of drawings, prints, assemblages … in between taking photographs and
also creating political and societal commentaries, captured under her catch-all
Jen told me that once she was likened “… to a puppy seen,
constantly stopping to sniff and look at everything. I am excitable, a little
unruly and largely unmanageable.“Well, we liked what she was managing to do in her
unmanageable way in the 'Kate Moss Eyes on Food' project and thought it was worth
delving into Jen’s practice and ideas …
iskm: How would you describe your art work?
Jen Allanson (JA): I make art to help me make sense of the
world. It’s a mirror. So, I’d probably describe my artwork as autobiographical
in that its most often this is what I saw, this is how I felt, this is
what this is means. In the case of the 'Kate Moss Eyes on Food' series of
collages it was simply this is something that made me laugh.
Jen's first 'Kate Moss Eyes on Food' collage
iskm: Why food? Why kate moss?
JA: The first 'Kate Moss Eyes on Food' collage was an
accident. I was in a business hotel in a Northern UK town cutting up a glossy
magazine while watching tv. In the paper-cut chaos that ensued Kate Moss’s eyes
ended up on a picture of some stuffed mushrooms. It made me laugh. I could
still recognise her even when she was just eyes on food. I scanned it and sent
it to a couple of friends who thought it was funny too. So I made a series,
posting them to a Tumblr gallery (beginning May 2014) and sharing them with friends via social
iskm: How did people react?
JA: I got a great response. People sent me more pictures of
Kate Moss through the post (all the collages are physical, cut paper collages).
I searched ebay and bought clippings and collected magazine pages. I hadn’t
realised there were people out there who collect and sell clippings of celebrities.
iskm: And where did you get your food images? Are they all
JA: The food pictures came from all sorts of places - food
magazines, photography magazines, old cookery books.
iskm: How many collages did you create?
JA: I made around 60 collages over the course of a couple of
months. 46 made it onto the site, the others I haven’t fallen in love with yet
(I may never). I continued making them until I ran out of steam and
something else captured my attention (collecting shopping lists from
supermarket trolleys, to be honest).
iskm: We also spotted that you also used kate’s eyes on
non-food images, such as the picture of the horse. Was this something you began
exploring beyond the plate?
JA: The horse picture came from a vintage copy of Paris
Match. Horse meat is eaten widely in France and there had been a recent ‘horse
meat in our beef’ scandal in the UK. It’s bizarre where we draw the line
between food and friend, so arbitrary.
iskm: Do you see this work as being a broader social
JA: I can’t pretend 'Kate Moss Eyes on Food' is a serious (or
even semi-serious) art project. So there really aren’t any sensible
answers to any ‘Why?’ questions related to Kate Moss Eyes on Food. I think it
would be disingenuous of me to make some up. I was just the conduit through
which this particular idea passed. I’m just the medium. The message is
whatever you choose ;-)
iskm: When we found your work on Tumblr, the latest post was
from January 1st, 2015. Did you
stop making pieces for the series?
JA: It’s funny, but at the time I was making the collages
Kate wasn’t much in the press/media. She’s had a renaissance in the glossies,
but my interest in the project has waned now, so I just spot her on the
magazine stand and think ‘Ah, of only that had been out when I was scouring the
world for pictures to cut her eyes from!’ … I still have a stash of Kate’s
paper eyes, so I may make more in the future, if the mood takes me.
iskm: Yet the last time we visited the tumblr site, we saw
two recently added images. Are you continuing the project?
JA: The new collages have certainly been sparked by my going
back to visit this project at your prompting. So yes, there may be a few more
to come …
iskm: Which photographers/artists would you most want to
most see involved in ishotkatemoss?
JA: Probably David Shrigley. His work is irreverent and
funny. It serves as a reminder that life, and art, shouldn’t be taken too