Monday, July 23, 2012

New Era Introducing: the muskrat hat

Here are some pictures of my latest project. It was for an art competition by New Era. I was one of 100 artists selected to transform a 59fifty hat into a piece of art. They mailed me the hat and I did this work in two weeks. If it is one of the best hats it will go on traveling exhibition. If it is the best hat I win a 10,000 dollar grant. CHA CHING.

Here is the concept:

This hat represents the clashing of young and old that I encounter here in the small town of Boone, NC, also home of Appalachian State University. It is here that the old-timey Appalachian mountain culture collides with the bright and bold youthful culture of a college environment.  
Popular among the youth, flashy flat bills can represent your favorite team, city, band, or simply be a fashion statement. The flat bill hat to me represents a hat that has lost all of its utilitarian purposes (even more so when the bill is turned back to the side). It is a decorative social symbol.
When anyone thinks of hats and Appalachian culture, the first thing that comes to mind is the iconic coonskin hat worn by our great American pioneer and explorer, Daniel Boone, for which Boone is named. Making use of the natural materials from the surrounding land, the hat served its purpose of warmth and protection.
The bill, upholstered with muskrat fur from the banks of the New River in Watauga County, juxtaposed with the cap, painted in my abstract painting style influenced by graffiti’s form and color, creates a conversation between urban and rural, young and old, historic and progressive, as well as natural and synthetic.