Megan Whitmarsh‘s latest series of school supplies is total writer porn. Who among us (especially those who grew up in the 80s) wouldn’t want a plush 4-color pen? I distinctly recall those being status symbols at school. At one point, I even had a 10-color pen (which you can still get for $1.99 here), but it turns out that history views those extra 6 colors as just that: extra; and it’s the 4-color pen that remains an unchanged, timeless classic.
Obviously these days, I wouldn’t touch a ballpaint pen with a 10-color poll, so it’s even easier to admire Whitmarsh’s nonfunctional plush replica. Her series of school supplies available from the Grey Area shop includes: the 4-color pen ($150), several colors of Sharpies ($125 each), #2 pencils ($125 each), a ruled paper note ($150), erasers ($75 each) and a calculator watch ($225).
What?! Those pencils are not Dixon Ticonderogas?! Blasphemy! Here’s Whitmarsh’s statement about the work:
Making replicas of things feels akin to play, which is perhaps why many artists undertake it. When I was a kid I took a ceramics class and for my “freestyle” project I made a taco. I recall being proud of it and using burlap to make the texture of the tortilla. I forgot about it until I was asked to be in the Early Show at Gavin Brown’s (curated by the General Store) and my mom sent me a box of my childhood art. I was in the process of making a 6-foot pile of handmade trash and one of the pieces I had just made was a fabric taco. I had recognized the redundancy of themes in my work prior to that but it was funny to have it spelled out so clearly: my adult work barely evolved from this object, echoing the redundant influences and themes of both youth and maturity.
It’s tough to pick a favorite here. There’s something charming and a little OCD about delicately replicating a crumbled, disposed object. Call it a reminder that even doodles and stray notes can be useful.
Really great stuffed stuff here. Several of the Sharpies are already sold out, but the rest of the supplies are available now at the Grey Area shop.
Update: My Love For You…has a little Q&A with Whitmarsh from last year. There are even more great plush popjects, like a blank cassette that’s been dubbed with a Cyndi Lauper album. I like this quote a lot:
I grew up in 70’s and 80’s with parents that limited my exposure to pop culture (or maybe I should say curated it) so what I was exposed to made a huge impression on me.
Parents as curators! Mom, are you reading?