Week 8 — Artist — Joseph DeLappe & Micol Hebron
Artist: Joseph DeLappe
Media: Game Art, Sculpture, Drawing, Painting
Artist: Micol Hebron
Joseph DeLappe is an award-nominee digital media artist who has been active for more than 25 years, and his work is shown around the world to represent gaming performance, sculpture and electromechanical installations. In his work, DeLappe consistently creates political art, and he defines this as his purpose, especially powers political art. In 2019, he was a nominee for a BAFTA Scotland award for one of his more recent games, “Killbox,” for “Best Computer Game”. Micol Hebron is a performance art creator since 1992, and currently teaches at Chapman University in Orange, California. She prefers to use social media, performance, video, digital media, social interaction, and other medium forms that allow communities to come together and create something collaboratively.
In DeLappe’s collaborative piece Thoughts and Prayers, he and fellow artist Pete Froslie built a massive sculpture out of carboard to resemble an AR-15. When it was presented in a Los Angeles gallery, it was laid on its side in the middle of the floor, making guests walk around the gargantuan faux gun. The muted plainness of the cardboard material makes the piece blend in to its surrounding and guests were originally going to write names of mass shooting victims, as “a mode of remembrance.” The ridiculous size and harmless carboard material makes the sculpture look almost like a toy, a plaything.
The name of this piece is a phrase often used after mass shootings, people tell the families of the victims that they have their “thoughts and prayers”. How can these families use thoughts and prayers to bring back their deceased loved ones? The reason for the size of this piece is is to call out the elephant in the room, quite literally, and address the absurdity of being able to have an AR-15 in private hands of American citizens, 6–10 million rifles in private citizen hands to be exact. The creators wanted to make a sculpture that called out the futile use of the phrase “thoughts and prayers” and advocate for stricter laws about gun violence in America, a massive issue no one can ignore, much like the sculpture itself.
Looking through the Micol Hebron’s Instagram, you will see these obvious themes: feminism, ‘fuck the patriarchy’, and male nipples. But I almost failed to see the most important one: censorship. Micol Hebron’s idea of gender equity is to fight against the censorship of feminine bodies, a concept I had never thought about. The sexualization of breasts is ironic, because masculine breasts aren’t subjected to the same fate as feminine breasts are. Women in our society collectively subject themselves to censorship, that showing natural parts of their bodies (which men have as well and are deemed decent for a public audience) is wrong.
Hebron’s controversial male nipple pasties are sold for free, and the artist sends them to a wide range of countries all around the world. The stickers themselves show ‘an audience appropriate’ nipple, as men are allowed to go shirtless in public while it is incredibly indecent for people with feminine breasts to do the same. This small sticker is meant to cover feminine areolas to “make the nipples appropriate” for the public eye. Everyone has breasts, regardless of their sex, but a woman’s breasts are seen as sexual, even though their primary purpose is to feed infants, a very natural process.
While DeLappe uses both physical and digital mediums to create, Hebron prefers to just use digital platforms to express her opinion and perspective. These artists have had similar upbringings in California and are both teachers, but they each teach very different subjects of art. Both pieces I picked from each artist are different mediums, but these creators are similar in their preferred method of media: digital media! DeLappe and Hebron both use socially-accepted-oversimplifications (“thoughts and prayers” and male nipples) to exemplify broken pieces of our society. Their artwork is politically motivated, albeit for different policies, and they motivate their audiences to change their perspective of the world and to challenge societal norms.
DeLappe, J. (2019). Biography: Joseph DeLappe. Retrieved October 19, 2020, from http://www.delappe.net/bio/biography/
Hebron, M. (2016). Micol Hebron. Retrieved October 18, 2020, from http://micolhebron.artcodeinc.com/
Williams, K. (2017, April 18). Agent provocateur: Artist-agitator Joseph DeLappe exhibits at Sonoma Valley Museum of Art. Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://www.sonomanews.com/article/lifestyle/agent-provocateur-artist-agitator-joseph-delappe-exhibits-at-sonoma-valley/?artslide=0