Cannibal Bonbon -a girl’s art vision
By Sunny Buick
What’s inside a girl? Everything is inside, Sugar and spice and everything nice. Outwardly she’s an illusion that’s been inwardly slowly eating away at itself. Famished for all that’s out of reach, forced a diet of self-loathing, caused by searching for perfection, a sweet confection feeding on herself. Corrosive like sugar to the teeth. She seeks her sanctuary inwardly and cannibalizes it. Feeding, recycling her identity from what she culls from the outside. Hungry because she shouldn’t take too much. Taking too much because she’s so hungry.
I’m a girl; it’s obvious by looking at my work. I think I know a little about beauty, a great deal of my life has been spent thinking about it; reading fashion magazines, always dieting, trying to reach an impossible ideal that has been laid out for me since birth. I’ve lived by the mirror; fascinated by makeup, fashion, and art, to the point of almost being traumatized by it. Studying the feminine mystique, and how to create an illusion, but there is more to it than just the surface.
My style, my ideas are a little Naïve, OK, but that’s also the surface. I’m still that only child who found a little reassurance in a world of her own fantasies. Somewhere deeper there’s my feminine intuition. My paintings instinctively hold the keys to all my beliefs, judgements and confused thoughts which eventually work themselves out. Like the subconscious work of dreams. I create the images and then realize much later through the symbolism just what it is that I’m aching to say but don’t dare or can’t articulate. Making art to express how I feel about the world, my life, my experiences, wanting to create another world even if it’s just a fantasy. Some of that fantasy is based on an obsession for the past. Creating an imaginary past to restore a sense of belonging. Recycling images from the past because we are so lost today. Rejecting motherhood for another kind of creation, my paintings are my babies. Is that rejection of maturity and responsibility? I shut the door to the rest of the world to dream. Modern women have no role models. Morbidly intriguing, we create outwardly illusions and we guard internal mysteries even from ourselves. Trapped between Narcissism and dependency, a target of consumerism, girls are forever in a state of suspension. Using girlish imagery to resolve the trauma, finding therapeutic feelings of safety in something hauntingly familiar.
My work has slowly evolved from lonely girls to fighting girls. Lonely girls with some element of danger, behind which hides the symbol of my ideas of the dangers of sexuality, frightened by my desires, my hungers. Now fighting characters, the delirious conflict of internal desires. Feminine violence, Anger, Chaos, something girls know so well in connection to the violent turmoil her body goes through each month. A perfect example is the subtitle of the Russ Meyer film Faster Pussycat Kill Kill Kill, “an ode to the violence in women”. Girls also know about Obsessions. Obsessions start and grow inside. I’m obsessed with images. I’m a Francophile. I’m an addict, craving selective amnesia so I can live in a fantasy of the past or of a future utopia of my art, where Utopia is female populated and death isn’t scary.
I make skulls because I think the skull is a part of our inner beauty. It’s what’s inside. Something we leave behind when we die, like our art. Animated bones to me are the most joyous image as if death were just a big joke. Death is a change we all must make the last thing that unites us together. Death to the old conceptual art world and to world politics! I believe in God or a higher power, but I don’t believe in heaven (after death that is). I have a vague feeling that reincarnation may be more plausible. I have a lot of disagreements with organized religions but I also think they can be very useful, but useful to who? is the problem. I believe a part of my spirit will live on just as parts of old spirits live in me now. Is that because of work left behind or work that will be left behind? I believe in the power of the belief in ghosts.
My obsession with freaks: My grandmother was born without arms, so I’ve always been obsessed about the sideshow. I’m fascinated by what it must be like to be a Siamese twin; to be chained, as it were, for life to the same person who also shares your DNA. How do we make relationships work? It’s maybe easier for Siamese twins because they are forced to, by dependency. Today not even family ties force us to stay together. The children of divorced parents generation. I feel somehow there is a siamese twin inside us all, a part of us that maybe we’d like to abandon but we can’t.
The idea starts with the painting Victorian Freakazoid Candy and is clarified in The Unappreciated Gift. In the former there are quotes from the French bible. The 1st quote speaks of having compassion for the prisoner as if you were suffering with them. The 2nd quote speaks of being chained, burdened, the bondage of human suffering. Here I’m starting to explore bizarre beauty; something cute and tradgic at the same time. Dualities, one girl mischeivious the other sweet. My hero, PT Barnum appears as father/god/hero because he means all those things to me. With his big name, the flash, his know how of entertainment of the masses, an expert exploiter of the press and compulsive writer, he could have been a modern messiah. Was he? He certainly was to someone.
In The Unappreciated Gift the symbolism is pretty obvious but still interesting. The web is the feminine trap, the one she spins for others and the one she herself cannot escape. Roses equal beauty, full bloom potential, sweet and fragile, mingling with the deadly trap of femininity illusion. Death also equals change, destination. The insects are her anxiety, also devouring like she devours. Birds are messengers, trying to convey what she finds hard to say. Burning heart with an eye, also expresses muteness, suffering, surveying, knowing. Here being a Siamese twin is the Gift of true intimacy, but unappreciated except by two who have adjusted to it. There is also the choice of Self made freaks, the tattooed, a lifestyle choice, which some see as self-mutilation, a primitive impulse, internal feelings expressed on the exterior layer, fashion, a self-esteem barometer, covering our nakedness, erotic, an impulse to experience physical pain as a cure for emotional pain. I’ve been a tattoo artist for 27 years continually trying to understand why people get tattooed.
The surrealists predicted that dreams and reality in the future would resolve themselves into one. Today the whole world is irreal, where is the real reality? Self-medicated hypnotized Americans are targets for consumption. Advertising is always pushing us to be dissatisfied. People are surgically changing the bodies they were born with. Are there any unattainable desires? While girls are reconciling their desires with reality, they are confronted with guilty ambition. That’s what so crazy about being a girl, girl, girl. The surrealists taught us to dream while we were awake and how to tap into our desires. Now we live in a surreal world. Nothing around us is real; it is all an illusion. The computer unleashed the whole world upon our eyes and made it much, much smaller. Our collective unconscious is now accessible. There is an omnipresent hierarchy, which is thinly disguised and moving quickly toward becoming a world monarchy or dictatorship. The glass ceilings that girls are accustomed to are really today for everyone. It is hopeless, yet we are convinced to continue the struggle, escaping in a get rich and famous quick fantasy. We can’t change the government but we can try undermining political authority in a silent revolution, the only kind of revolution that will be allowed in the future. A girl’s body is in constant silent revolution against her. She is instinctually familiar with what is happening in the world today. In despair, helpless to change anything I used to ignore the news, current events and politics, living in the past or future in my head. In this Corporation-run government we are lost headed for de-evolution. I moved to Europe to escape the American mentality, unfortunatly the whole world is quickly becoming Americanized. I choose to live in France because of my fantasies about the past. It’s easy to live in a dream world in Paris. The twisting streets are like the twisted branches of the dream. I romanticize the era of the 20’s and 30’s and all writers and artists living here. I have a choice, unlike most, to be an ex-patriot. In Paris I feel at ease, sexy, romantic, the city matches my personality. Never will I fully assimulate, which mirrors the way I really feel about being born a girl in this world. Speaking French is a part of a composite fantasy image I have of myself.
What is my philosophy?
Super sugary dark appropriation/conservation of the images of the past century
How to make a cannibal bonbon
Just 12 easy steps to follow:
Take one girl in full blossom
Stick her in the wrong era one full of dispair, modern enough so she has the choice to be more than just a factory of procreation
No father, no family
Fill her head with romance and colors
A dash of Divorce and drug addiction
1/2 a cup of Total loss of control
Marinate for two weeks on vacation in Paris
Add daily mass quantities of sugar and caffeine
Add tattoos and pretty clothes
Bake until Spiritual awakening then
Voila! Dreams come true
In my painting,
Vision in a Bathtub
My painting of a girl in her bubble bath having a spiritual vision which includes all the icons of the world’s great religions. Bubbles are the symbols of illusion. Below her are beauty products, perfumes, oils, jewelled bottles; expressing bottled emotions, that her body is also a vessel waiting to be filled. Conflicting images, confusing messages, muddled illusions. Something I didn’t realize until recently, that symbolically I may have associated being clean (drug free) and beautiful (perfect), as requirements to receive blessing. Candles equal her burning desires. Purity and girl are in conflict because woman is seen as a symbol of temptation. The juxtaposition of a young girl concerned with beauty having an epiphany. Competing religious images all saying practically the same thing. She is also under their surveillance. Will she choose materialism or spiritualism? The real illusion is that there is somehow something different between the different messages. There isn’t. Anyone can be opened spirituality it doesn’t have to follow a formula. Often it’s when we are alone, focused, clean and relaxed that we are more receptive.
I’m hooked on visual inspiration and I seek it everywhere. Artists paint their environment. My environment is culled from the flea market, recycling. I find a great deal of my inspiration now a days in Sugar and tea. You can see the caffeine induced delirium in the chaos and the colors and the Candy coated effect that acrylic achieves. You are what you eat after all, so that makes me a cannibal bonbon.