Porcelain by Peter Pincus
A Statement on Criminal Reform
Memphis College of Art
Memphis, Tennessee, BFA, Illustration
From the Artist: These recent works are a part of an ongoing series of anthropomorphic food and fauna. Inspired by nostalgic pop culture, each deadpan dessert, ill-humored ice cream, and sour-faced sweet references the universal experience of the adolescent awkward phase. I never left my awkward phase.
Tillett's work has been licensed for use as set decor on the ABC Family Movie "The Mistle-tones", Disney's T.V. series "Andi Mack" and Disney's T.V. series "Homeroom", as well as spotted in episode 4 of the HGTV show Emily Henderson's "Secrets From a Stylist". You can currently find her work in stores and galleries such as Signed and Numbered of Salt Lake City, Tin Top of Winchester, VA, Stranger Factory of Albuquerque, NM, Sassysquatch tees at Threadless.com, and her original paintings represented through Graphite Galleries of New Orleans, Gallery1988 of Los Angeles, and Spoke Art Gallery of New York.
Clients and works in print include: Markwin's International, Honda, Threadless, Nie Studio, Viva Pops, The Imagineering Company of San Francisco, Chefables, Delicious Decadence Granola, La Ranchita's, Pop Elation, SnoCal Shaved Ice, Bonelli's Cafe Italia, Bank Tennessee, Alternatives Unlimited, piece selected for print in the book 99.1% Pure: The Breaking Bad Artbook published August 2021, piece selected for print in the book My Neighbor Hayao: Art Inspired by the Films of Miyazaki published 2020, artist feature in the Society6 Quarterly No. 3.2 published 2018, artist feature in the book Sweet and Bizarre by Monsa Publications 2017, Art credit in Better Homes and Garden magazine July 2015 issue, illustrator for the 2013 children's book Hoover the Talking Seal, illustrator for the 2012 children's book Paul the Red-Billed Puffin, illustrator for the 2011 children's book Colleen the Chameleon, illustrator for the children's iStory book Holler for the Dollar, and "12 Dancing Princesses with Two Left Feet" selected for print in Communication Arts Illustration Annual 43.
Mid-spring semester of 2022, I was caught off guard by a student that introduced themselves as a degenerate artist with a background in making degenerate art. This was in reference to their time as pipe maker for the industry of ornamental cannabis paraphernalia. Of course I was aware of the concept of degenerate art, yet not within the context of those who make pipes for a living. And there, in front of me, stood a student who had labeled themselves pejoratively as such despite being visibly uncomfortable with that label, which in their view made them lesser in the eyes of peers and mentors.
I asked, “Would it be possible to relinquish the control that the word “degenerate” seems to have on you, given that the experiences you’ve had as a professional exist within a fully legal, culturally expanding, economically thriving industry?”
Despite my efforts, that label seemed to stick, to matter, to the student.
The student was proof that what is meant by the cliché sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me is ineffectual. Their work was captivating, and they were engaged members of our community. No stigma existed, except within them, based on a belief that pipes put them on the wrong side of culture. A wrongful belief, nonetheless.
Shape Theory Collective stands to free individuals who are imprisoned for non-violent cannabis related crimes. I would argue that freedom will come not only from removing those individuals of their sentences, but also from redefining the terms that are used to label cannabis related activities. As example, one is not a degenerate for working in a legal, medicinal industry (unless of course they are pharma-bro!). If we can get there, what good may come for us all!
When I started to imagine what I might show for Shape Theory Collective, I thought a lot about this term – degenerate – and a lot about the precarious nature of words in general. I then came up with a second word – stash – which had a similar effect on the 1990’s psyche, back when I was growing up. It is a simple word, yet one that cuts to the core of the disassociation of cannabis culture from general culture. To expound, one does not have a stash of liquor, they own a liquor cabinet with glass windows that displays their single malt. They did have a stash of liquor during prohibition. But the word disappeared when prohibition ended. Yet one’s cannabis is their stash.
Mulling it over, I decided that there is great potential in people using terms like stash to redefine them. I made a series of bright and ebullient ceramic containers of various sizes, to be used in whatever manner might seem appropriate. However, I’m interested in how much more ebullient they become when they are seen not to contain, but to stash.
THIS ARTIST HAS ELECTED TO CREATE WORKS EXCLUSIVELY FOR SHAPE THEORY COLLECTIVE.
A PORTION OF EACH SALE DIRECTLY SUPPORTS CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM