Written by Marley C. Smit
By mid-November, the impending holiday season is already looming in the minds of busy New Yorkers. The heaviest shopping season of the year is about to commence, and everyone is pondering the question, what do I get for my loved ones? What do they want? The cult of consumerism is so deeply entrenched in the American holiday season it has even bred new traditions such as ‘Black Friday,’ a phenomenon in which people trample each other for discount goods the day after a holiday dedicated entirely to ‘being thankful.’ This materialistic obsession is the inspiration behind hyperrealist artist CJ Hendry’s latest exhibition, The Trophy Room.
To create this series of meticulously rendered ink drawings, Hendry compiled an assortment of iconic and highly-coveted items to be dipped in bronze and placed on concrete pedestals, creating literal trophies out of the objects. She then rendered her bronze-plated trophies with such painstaking care, the process itself seems to have been an act of worship. The pointed irony of Hendry’s process is of course that in immortalizing these items, she effectively destroyed the original objects that inspired this idolatry.
CJ Hendry taps into the emotional connection people often create with consumer items, whether it is an artifact from their past or a symbol of social status. Her trophy subjects range from everyday items such as Coca Cola bottles to luxury goods like Birkin bags. As a self-described brand coveteur, Hendry both scrutinizes and indulges in the cult of consumerism with The Trophy Room.
The Australian-born artist made her first splash on the international art scene when she presented Kanye West with a drawing depicting the rapper’s face on a crumpled up hundred dollar bill. The incident earned her a massive social media following and celebrity commissions from big names such as Floyd Mayweather. CJ Hendry now lives and works in New York City, exploring the fetishization of consumer goods through her hyper-realistic black and white ink drawings. The Trophy Room will be on view at 79 Greene St, New York NY, until November 20th, 2016.