31 Aug
Guns, grenades and chainsaws vs. fashion’s biggest designer logos


Gazing out from behind Prada sunglasses in a cloud of Burberry and Alexander McQueen, you must often find yourself pondering: Self, wherein lies the limit to my insatiable thirst for designer labels? Well, refer to artist Peter Gronquist for a worst-case scenario. His Sculpture + Weapons series features guns, grenades and chainsaws (disabled first, of course) that he’s glitzed up and slapped with fashion’s biggest designer logos. Though not all designers appreciate the social statement—Louis Vuitton actually issued a Cease and Desist—Gronquist keeps on keepin’ on, partly because the popularity of his weapon sculptures has brought in the cash flow. “I’m a whore,” he admits. “I’m a victim of the rampant consumerism that I parody. It’s all very confusing.”

Make the jump to read the interview with Peter Gronquist…

Do you generally use found objects for the weapon sculptures, or do you create from scratch?
When I’m doing the weapons I almost always start off with the real thing. I naturally have to disable all of them so that I can show and sell them, especially here in California. I almost had a heart attack when the LAPD arrived at my opening, but everything worked out. For a minute I was sure I was going to have to run for it.

What’s the story with the Cease and Desist you just received?
That was from Louis Vuitton. I had actually been expecting that for years from them, though. I also thought that if I ignored the letters they would go away. I was so wrong.

I heard they actually showed up at your house?
Yeah, it was really weird. Thank God I wasn’t home. They left me a note on the back of one of their business cards. I guess they really wanted to talk to me.

Were they upset about how you were using their brand, or just the fact that you were using it at all?
They get upset about anybody using their trademark for any reason. Except Murakami, but he’s awesome.

Is there one thing you’re trying to say with these pieces, or is that up for us to decide?
I have so many bullshit theories and meanings about these things. I guess that ultimately they’re a parody of myself and the rest of our culture.

Any bullshit theories you’d like to share?
I actually came up with a ton over the years that I’ve been developing, the original being: “Wouldn’t it be funny if…?” The short list includes: our culture’s glamorization of violence, rampant consumerism, war profiteering and how people will put designer brands on literally anything and think that they are automatically awesome. I really just wanted to make something completely ridiculous. Then people gave me money for them. So I made a ton of them because I’m a whore. I find that it’s a parody of myself because I also like ridiculous things sometimes for no logical reason. I’m a victim of the rampant consumerism that I parody. It’s all very confusing.

Are you a lover or a fighter?
Definitely a lover, but I look pretty tough…

I’m predicting the trend of lazy rappers rolling up to parties in decked-out wheelchairs. Are you prepared for this?
Can one prepare for that? That would be pretty apt if you think about it. It’s all about owning what you don’t need. But yes, that would be awesome. A friend of mine is in a band, and she broke her ankle so she borrowed my gold Gucci wheelchair for some shows. Big hit, I’m told.

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