Rachel Perry Welty’s artwork has sometimes involved the making of miniature folding cartons. Her commissioned work for Johnson & Johnson’s New York lobby (“Product” 2007) for example, features hundreds of miniature versions of their retail boxes, past and present.
Executives from Johnson & Johnson saw a piece called, “Contents of My Pantry,” which featured miniaturized boxes of everyday items like cereal. They later commissioned Welty to create a similar installation of all their products, which now continues to grow larger and larger on a wall at the corporate headquarters.
“I started with the antique products like bunion plasters and keep adding to it as the company adds new products,” Welty said.
Brooks School Website, 2008 (Visiting Artist…)
She’s also made miniature versions of other iconic packaging designs, including a tiny stack of a more contemporary Brillo box — more contemporary than the 1960’s package design of Warhol’s Brillo boxes.
She’s also made a miniaturized survey of currently available Crest Toothpaste varieties (which further illustrates a point I was making in my previous post about how far from Deskey’s original brand packaging Crest has wandered).
“Choice (Crest toothpaste),” (2005) comprises every size and variety of Crest toothpaste available at my local drugstore, re-made in 1 : 5 scale. This installation probes the questionable benefit of choice in our culture and reflects, in an everyday way, our desire to acquire, inflamed by the miniature.
Rachel Perry Welty
The impulse to make miniature replica packaging as artwork is interesting and I was curious about her idea that consumers might be “inflamed” by miniatures. Hunting around a bit, I turned up an interview from 2006 in which she also mentions this idea:
“I take the actual containers, after we consume the contents, and I open up the boxes, photocopy and reduce them. I’m thinking a lot about this miniature inflaming the desire to acquire. They’re made into something cute and precious or something that you want to buy.”
There’s also a contrasting scale at work when she presents a huge accumulation of tiny packages, as in the Johnson & Johnson “Product” installation and the 2007 “Brillo” …methodically organized, but compulsive — like a dollhouse for hoarders.
(A few more photos, after the fold…)
More recently, Welty has been doing self portraits. The one below left shows her camouflaged by a cereal boxes background, colorfully patch blue jeans and a supermarket circular…
…which reminded me of the supermarket photos by Liu Bolin (who we also featured in December’s Camouflage Pattern Beverage Branding post.)