“I’m interested in doing work involving communication with people,” says artist and Anacortes, Washington native Kate Clark over a cup of coffee at Twiggs.
“Piñatas are a great vehicle to connect with folks. I see myself as a piñata counselor. I meet with people to discuss what this piñata means to them. Breaking open this thing full of treasures is a powerful symbol. So I like to help people figure out how to make it mean the most to them.”
It was in this spirit that Clark designed a George Washington piñata for an experimental school in Washington D.C.
“He’s always seen as such a stodgy figure,” Clark says, “so I thought it’d be fun to break open the head of one of the founding fathers and find condoms, fake moustaches, and candy inside.”
Clark moved from Washington D.C. to San Diego in August to work on her Masters of Fine Arts at UCSD.
“I figured San Diego would be great. There’s a really strong tradition of piñata and sculptures stuffed with ephemera here. Usually there’s Sponge Bob or a cowboy, but I want to do something where people have the chance to customize their celebration."
Pricing is not fixed and ranges from $30 to $500, to be determined after consultation. An example of one of Clark’s high end works is a life-size self-portrait doll, not for sale, with real dentures and skin painted with bees wax.
“It’s based on the paper mache dolls in Mexico rumored to be used in brothel windows to represent the women inside. I wanted to make a life-sized doll - make her more of a force to be reckoned with.”
“I think the act of the piñata in its own right is kind of subversive – taking this beautiful object and destroying it. At any ritual gathering, the idea of transformation is important – blowing out candles or burning something or breaking something. Every culture has that. I want to make that connection a more personal process.”