Stupid Little Penguins

Made by a guy who thinks too much about art and commerce.

Stupid Little Penguin in Blue Stardust. Photo by Scott Southern

Stupid Little Penguin in Blue Stardust. Photo by Scott Southern


You Win...

For a few years in my early days of selling glass, I would make small penguins as a quick item to get people buying. I was doing 20 or so art and craft shows every year and was starting to see trends in consumer behavior. Everyone loved the penguins. Despite the allure of other more complex pieces in my display, people were always drawn to the cute little penguins.

Stupid Little Penguins.

As I began making penguin dabbers I noticed the same thing. People couldn't get enough and while I was on my journey toward (I thought) becoming more technical and design-savy, for most of my fans, the penguins were it. It would have been fine for me to make those for the rest of my life as far as they were concerned.

This really highlighted the pull between commerce and art.

It's an uneasy place for many artists to traverse. While I really enjoyed the amount of attention I was getting for the penguins I also just wanted to blow glass free of expectations.

You gotta do both. 

So I got to work on my Stupid Little Penguins, and who knows if this design will be a trap to make, another chance for me to be someones dancing monkey... Through my perspective, they encapsulate the paradoxical trap of the artist manifesting a design into a physical, sellable thing.