Lyd's Pizza Shop
Artist Statement

Born in of a family of twelve, I have always been aware of how position in the interpersonal sphere affects myself, and how I, in turn, influence others. This introspection causes me to question the role that power-hungriness plays in the lives of everyday people. I believe that everyone craves affirmation and the ability to influence others, and question what it looks like when this influence becomes meddlesome, manipulative, or in the extreme, despotic.

My recent work explores these issues of power and influence by using food as a metaphor for social or political bargaining power. All political or social power trips rely on an exchange of some sort: people must believe that they are gaining something by following a would-be leader. Since pizza is currently incredibly popular in mainstream American culture, easily shareable, and relatively inexpensive, people often use it to bribe others to do unsavory tasks such as helping them move their apartment or attend meetings. In the world that I have created through Lyd’s Pizza Shop, a power-hungry shop owner uses pizza as the means by which to validate her self-importance and gain prominence in the minds of her customers and the community. The shop owner attempts to control her customers by offering pizza in exchange for their participation in a subversive promotional campaign.

Oftentimes an individual in pursuit of power may rely on logical fallacies to make it easier to make promises they can keep; in other cases, the individual may simply neglect to fully deliver on those promises once the followers have already committed to the individual -- as in the case of my pizza shop, promising hot and delicious pizza, and delivering only the appearance of such. For this reason, I sculpt and glaze food in the tradition of ceramic trompe l'oeil. I attempt to convince the viewer of the immediacy and desirability of the realistic food objects in order to win the viewer over as a follower. Exploiting realism in this way is an attempt to activate the suspension of disbelief in the viewer, since I believe the idea of suspension of disbelief plays a similar role in the sectors of politics, food, and art. For example, voters may willingly overlook a politician’s alarming flaws in order to support the politician’s stances they more strongly identify with, consumers buy into the various visual deceptions of the food industry in favor of price or convenience, and viewers of art allow themselves to be tricked by visual illusions in order to be entertained.

I hand-sculpt stoneware and porcelain and fire to mid-range temperatures. In my recent work, I explore the similarities between the ceramics process and the cooking process. By experimenting with techniques such as millefiori, altering the pre-firing consistency of glazes, and once-firing, I attempt to make my ceramic process more intuitive and similar to cooking, integrating my themes of food with my technique of making.