Upon becoming a mother to young boys I discovered that children’s parties and “playdates” frequently involved toy firearms and pretend violence. I was disturbed by the realism of the guns and the boys’ play, in a society where such things are all too real.
I could not agree with the car park mothers’ sentiment that “boys will boys”, normalising violence through play, and so through my work sought to make the guns more joyful, playful and even absurd. I became obsessed, converting violent “weapons” into objects of delight, erupting in green, pink and white explosions of light. Painted, melted, distorted, they no longer even resemble the firearms they once purported to be, and are instead reclaimed to serve a different end.
Darkness becomes light.
Some of the guns “shoot” melted plastic, others a raw light bulb, and others still have all but lost their barrels… beautiful and useless objects, that charm and entrance the viewer rather than threatening.
As it happens, I use a gun to create these works – a heat gun directs a blast of very hot air to melt plastic. The process is laborious, requiring constant attention lest the plastic burn. The heat is dangerous hot and the melting plastic produces toxic fumes – a violent process, producing beautiful, even seductive, results.