L’homme de la foule
Graphite, gesso, and thread on a vintage fashion advertisement
Image: 8” x 36”
Frame: 14 1/2” x 42 1/4” x 1 1/4”
As someone who has had a career in marketing and UX design, I have had an ongoing interest in how the concept of “target users” can become its own self-fulfilling prophecy of exclusion. L’homme de la foule examines what may have been the first target user of the modern city.
L’homme de la foule (or “the man of the crowd”) references the “flâneur” archetype that has been written about by Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Baudelaire, and Walter Benjamin. The flâneur is a man who strolls or wanders through the city and was held as the target audience for art and urban design in the 19th century. He is someone with disposable income, ample time, and who is most at home when he is immersed in a crowd, not at home with his family. Using a 1920s French fashion house’s advertisement for its latest in British style as a base, I added layers of gesso and graphite to suggest this wandering from scene to scene of homosocial space and to elevate each character’s roles to a mythic level.
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