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Court of the Dead

May 6, 2013

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Review Bomb Hugger By Apologies To Banksy

Today I have for you an examination and review of one of the recent Apologies To Banksy Bomb Hugger vinyl & PVC, available from Apologies To Banksy here.
The company stirs a bit of controversy, as it is not an official affiliate of Banksy- of whom is explicit in his attitude towards unauthorized reproductions of his work. Apologies to Banksy seem sorry about the capitalization on his name and artwork though; they named their company after their feelings towards it. And apologize profusely on their packages and website. But they don't seem sorry enough to not endeavor to interperate and sell his ideas.
My ambition was to let a review and some research change my opinion about the companies efforts, though it has been mixed results. I'm pro-inpiration, interpretation, trans-platform engineering- these can all be very good things. Lots of our favourite artists draw from existing creative properties we know and love/critique; from Ron English to Greg Simkins. So where does the line get drawn between when we love it, or don't? Here's what I found about Bomb Hugger.
It came out of the box a litle dirty, which was disappointing. On close inspection, the Quality Control in the figure itself had a bit of trouble with bubbling. This piece had a crater from a popped bubble on her nose- the last place any company wants QC issues would be the figure's face, I imagine. As observed in a previous review on Tomopop, this figure has a bit of an unpleasant seam in the back where right arm joins the body. The DIY figure does come with free paint and a brush, which is a thoughtful gesture, though artists paying 20GBP+Shipping for a designer blank would not be buying it on the merits of getting these paints.
This image darkened to highten the contrast in the facial features.
Sometimes a controvercial idea can win us over when the quality of the product is really outstanding. I'm not left feeling this way with Bomb Hugger- for about $50USD after shipping from the UK, she might arrive dirty, may have QC issues, and wide seams. The sculpting seemed a bit challenged to me; her left arm is twice as long as her right arm, and the bomb cradles akwardly, pulling away from what should have been contact points with her face and hands.
In Banksy's original street artwork, her features are feminine and she makes emotive contact with the bomb she embraces. These two hallmarks of the success of the image did not appear to translate effectively in the vinyl interpretation.
From a customizing perspective of looking at the piece as a DIY Blank, it doesn't seem very appealing. It is hyper-literal in its figuration, which can be difficult to work interperatively with and do anything more than make variations of colourways. The bomb is a very nice size to be able to custom in interesting ways, about 3" long, and removable. Her skirt is also a smooth and easily accessable canvas to work on.
And we know it's not true that extremely literal bases cannot be creatively re-imagined; this Ardabus Rubber custom Kozik bust stands out in my mind as an effective abstract interpretation on an extremely literal platform.
So what could have been done differently for Bomb Hugger?
Bomb Hugger may have been an effective bust, which would have allowed for more elegant sculpting in the face. This was explored also by Tomopop, who reviewed Bomb Hugger alongside Apologies to Banksy's figure Rude Copper. I think there's truth in the conclusion we both arrived at though; what Bomb Hugger gained by being a full-body figure with a nicely detailed base does not seem to outweigh some of the other aesthetic challenges with working in that scale.
I do appreciate it takes a great deal of work to actualize and produce a figure like this. And Apologies To Banksy are trying hard to share what they feel strongly about doing; they're attending Expos and putting on a Custom Exhibition. They're even putting on a design competition where entrants have a chance to have their custom made into a production run of 250 pieces and sold. An undisclosed proceeds percentage is intended for donation an undisclosed charity. No compensation to the artist is offered, though having a design produced is pretty cool, many would say.
If you're a fan of Banksy's work, it might just be a really cool thing to have in your collection. It's a great invitation to submit to show custom work in London in their upcoming Exhibition. They're a young company with ambition, and deserve acknowledgement for that. And they did mention they're sorry, right?


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