See her latest felt installation at the Rockerfeller Center, NYC.
Lucy Sparrow is a British artist renowned for her joyful, tactile creations made of felt. She creates covetable, adorable felt versions of everyday goods, playfully subverting the mundane into something wonderful.
We’re not sure how Sparrow managed to completely fill a room with hundreds of hand stitched faces and it not be terrifying, but she did. Sparrow’s latest interactive exhibition, her ‘Delicatessen on 6th’ at the Rockefeller Center in New York is pure joy. Harking back to her roots to her first kickstarter-funded felt corner shop in London 2014, this feature is more luxurious, more New York, and we’re excited.
Showcasing a bakery, a patisserie, a fishmonger, a cheese counter and a meat counter, there is every type of ingredient for the most discerning of gourmands. You’re invited to pick up a basket and start shopping, popping in a red velvet macaron with your chosen croissant, perhaps. Or maybe a delighted slice of brie to sit next to your hand-stitched avocado maki from the sushi counter.
It’s an exuberant celebration of creativity, making something magical out of the everyday. Her art is accessible and fun, and as poignant as you’d like to make it. You could examine your relationship with consumerism and food, or you could purchase an adorable cinnamon bagel with a smiley face on it just because it makes you happy.
The atmosphere at the exhibition was one of childlike glee. Where Sparrow excels is turning an everyday experience into something that delights and inspires.
We’re used to seeing stunning felt squishiness from Sparrow, but the beaded eyes and the smiley faces add a new dimension. She’s essentially animating and giving a personality to foodstuffs, and we love it. It inspires your own creativity in what you see and connect with in the pieces. If it could speak, what kind of voice would it have? Would it be an intelligent or a silly croissant? Some of the exhibition goers and I decided that the scallops, with their iridescent shell crowns, were the high-maintenance prom queens of the sea. Whereas the clams, who were happy as they’re rumoured to be, were just thrilled to be there.
There were some mysteriously sad chicken fillets, painted with sad faces. Upon enquiry it was revealed that sometimes the seamstresses and Sparrow decide that some of their creations are sad and alter their expressions accordingly. Perhaps these particular chicken fillets are non-organic and pumped full of hormones, we’ll never know.
Sparrow might be showing the art world how to loosen up and have a good time, but it would be unwise to underestimate the genius of her choice to adorn her creations with faces. We’ve seen the successes of personification in cinema, for example Miyazaki’s animated films inspired by the Japanese belief in Shinto (the belief that everything has a soul), to the wide-eyed ceramics of Studio Arhoj. It’s refreshing to see Sparrow engage with the viewer in this way, heralding a new era for her work. Sparrow is now blurring the lines between art and toys whilst staying true to her trademark style.
We are delighted to stock a similar collection by Lucy Sparrow in our Brighton gallery from her 2018 exhibition, ‘Sparrow Mart’ held at The Standard, Downtown LA.
‘Such a Sad Time’ is a kitchen cupboard style installation of everyday consumables as touchable toys. Featuring recognisable favourites from Heinz ketchup bottles to Jif peanut butter jars; tins of corned beef and packets of pasta; mayonnaise and canned chicken.
If you’re interested in owning some of Sparrow’s work, please get in touch with us on +44 (0) 1273 724829.