Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Art Adventures: 8 'Till Late, the Felt Grocery Store!

A few years back I read an online article about a British artist named Lucy Sparrow. She had created a temporary Cornershop in London, stocked completely with felt re-creations of everything you would find inside. It was like a cross between a pop-up shop and art installation, and there were over 4,000 items for sale. At the time she hinted at a project in New York and I was thrilled, hoping I would hear about it when the time came. I did. 

Inside the ice cream freezer, with glitter frost on the wire baskets.

So a couple of weeks ago, I got up bright and early, invited my daughter on an art adventure, and into New York City we went. Lucy Sparrow strikes again! On Little West 12th Street in NYC, Sparrow and company opened 8 'Till Late, a little grocery/bodega created entirely out of felt. Here is one of the signs right beneath the High Line.

Sparrow did her research in making a "fauxdega" complete with Americanized products, a bodega cat, meat counter, hot dog stand, and more. She was actually in the shop when we visited, and I regret that I came over all shy and didn't tell her how brilliant she is! Maybe she will read it.

Storefront windows.

Checking out the deals.
Chips, alcohol, frozen food.

It was fantastic. Sparrow's love for simple, brightly colored felt truly lends itself to package design, and her pieces were simultaneously fine art objects and cuddly toys— well, as cuddly as toilet paper or orange juice can be. 

Chips of all sorts.
Fresh fruit and veggies.
Hot dog stand.
Meat counter and bodega kitty.
The felt register.

Multiples of certain items in plexiglass cases were given finer placement. These soup cans were in a gallery room towards the back of the shop. 

All of these felt items reminded me of a Halloween costume I made way back when my daughter wanted to be a package of Twizzlers. I couldn't imagine making thousands of them, no matter how cute!

We did purchase an item each from the shop. My daughter chose Reese's Pieces, and I chose a jar of grape jelly. I just loved the purple felt! I read that the most popular items to sell out first were Moet Chandon champagne, Heinz Ketchup, Vagisil, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and JIF Peanut Butter. No rhyme or reason I can think of, but a fun fact nonetheless!

My post was going to include an order for you to go and visit ASAP because the shop would only be open for the month of June. Unfortunately the shop is closing today. Over 9,000 items sold out, and there was just no way to keep 8 'Till Late open for the last week or so. Pretty amazing, if you ask me.

I truly enjoyed my visit, and loved the idea of everyday items as art. The simple construction in colorful felt, the pop art inspiration, and connecting to contemporary artists would be an instant hit with my students. I feel an art lesson coming on! 

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