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“Guns are for Girls” by Shellie Lewis

June 28, 2010


“Guns are for Girls” by Shellie Lewis

Multi-media collage with acrylic paints, printed digital image, range target, found object plastic gun and plastic gems; overall size 14” x 18”.

I have filed this under the social and political section of works on my portfolio website.  Here are the details and concepts related to the making of this art work.

The small plastic gun was something I found out on the sidewalk.  One of the better aspects of living in a large city like Chicago is all of the oddball items you literally find when you are out walking around.  I am an excellent scavenger.  I recently delighted in pocketing a chandelier crystal in an alley which was intact.

The range target is one I recently shot up with a .45 caliber semi-automatic at a firing range. I did a pretty good job, the target was at about three yards down the range; I think the gun was a Sig Sauer.  I just recall that it had a ten bullet capacity and had no appreciable recoil.  The digital image is a photo of me as a child that I manipulated in Adobe Illustrator.

The ideas behind this piece relate to two things specifically: 1) that it is socially acceptable to market weaponry to children at all, and 2) that the marketing of toy weaponry of any visual realism is wholly, singularly directed at boys.  In that I assume this toy gun -being strangely “Barbie” sized- is a boy’s lost toy.  It reminds me of the infinite weaponry of G.I. Joe toys; so where’s my “Black Ops Barbie” at?  I feel she’d need night vision goggles and a sniper rifle.  Overall, I find the existence of toy weaponry to be insanity.  When it comes to gifts for children, I have always adhered to a “no weapons” and “no war toys” policy. 

The tension in this piece is generated through the imagined marketing of weaponry or toy weaponry for girls.  This is compounded by the color pink as a gender signifier for girls which socially exists ad naseum and the crafty-crafter feminine kitsch glitter and plastic gem schlock nature of the collage.  It has been my experience that women are rarely encouraged to be artists, but we are encouraged to “craft”.

I will have to keep toy weaponry in mind for future art works.  I found this in the park nearest to my apartment when I was last painting outdoors.  I think “OMFG” sums up this toy pretty well.  So far, all of the art ideas I have for this toy involve public performances that may result in arrest, so I’m going to hold on to it… for now.

OMFG ridicuous toy weapon

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