Monday, October 3, 2011

PLAYING WITH OUR FOOD


The topic for this month’s Blog Carnival** is “food”, and like our fellow artists, we’ve been known to use the stuff.  Of course, because we don’t do anything casually, we jump into food with both feet, sometimes literally. At various times, as a continuum to our art careers, we have owned restaurants, marketed food products, did food styling for television, written a nationally syndicated food column, and been an award-winning p√Ętissier among other food related activities.

What does all this have to do with “art jewelry” you ask.

Everything and nothing.

For some, life’s activities are compartmentalized.  They work at a job and do art on the side. We approach everything we do as an art form. Everything is interrelated and thus a running a restaurant or writing a food article becomes a satisfying creative expression.
All of these experiences also become influences in our jewelry, and that’s the point. The exercise is about becoming a free-flowing conduit to leverage life’s experiences and our creativity into whatever activity we’re engaged in at the moment.  All of this may sound in turn, obvious, stupid, or morbidly philosophical. For us, it is simply the way we live, and it makes life fun – sometimes.

One of the side effects (benefits?) of such an eclectic life are the surreal moments that present themselves on a regular basis. We have learned that nothing trumps reality for sheer weirdness, and you simply can’t make stuff like this up.   Such a moment occurred once when we were marketing a food product. – dog food to be specific.

The client was a very large, well known international brand of pet food. As the new marketing people, we were summoned to company headquarters to meet the executive marketing team. Upon arrival we were ushered up to 24th floor where we were promptly greeted by an assistant who escorted us to the corporate boardroom.  The doors were opened to reveal a very large impressive room. It was totally old school, dark, wood paneled, high ceilings and largest conference table we had ever seen.
The entire executive marketing team was already in the room, They were all dressed in suits, standing, surrounding the conference table. No one said a word, they just stood there looking at us. Someone motioned us to enter the room.  

As we entered the room the doors were closed behind us, and we slowly realized that there was absolutely nothing on the conference table. Not one piece of paper, laptop, cell phone, nothing except, sitting in the middle of this huge table – a single can of dog food – and a spoon.

One of the executives motioned to the can and said, “we’d like you to try the product”. 

We stood there blankly trying to process what was happening. We looked around the table thinking someone would crack a smile and reveal that they were joking.  There were no smiles. They were dead serious. The executive took the can of dog food and spoon and held it out to us. “Everyone who works here try’s the product” he said flatly.

Our brains are racing at this point. Is this really happening? Are we acquiescing to a corporate ritual? Is this a test to see if we’ll debase ourselves? What’s does dog food taste like anyway?
We take the spoon and eat the dog food.

That turned out to be a really good choice and an important bonding ritual that is still playing out today.  There isn’t any moral to this story except the point of the ritual, which is to get past your pre-conceived notions. What did the dog food taste like?  Pretty darn close to canned beef stew.

** Blog Carnival is a group activity of EtsyMetal, an international collective of jewelry artists. Each month the group selects a topic and members link their writings on that topic, thus providing readers with a multidimensional rambling collaborative brain-fart experience.

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