If you come across a woman lying atop a billboard or a man stretched out under a row of newspaper stands, you've either just found a distressed human or an (inhuman) original work of art. Glazed Paradise creates human and animal shapes that look part sculpture, part performance art in freeze-frame. Using tape, polyethylene, and casting skills, Mark Jenkins and Sandra Fernandez wrap and shape bodily figures, position them in sometimes-overlooked public places, and let both charm and alarm take over. For example, look for the figure kneeling outside a shop window, or the girl with her head in her hands lying on top of a highway billboard.
Glazed Paradise has been building bodily figures since Fernandez and Jenkins started working together nine years ago. The accessibility of their work makes for perfect street art, but it's the startling elements (the positions, places, and props) that give viewers an extra jolt. "We like to manipulate reality," Fernandez tells Creators , "so to get close to that, we start with real things like people and animals to get our foot in the door of your head. Then from there we smear a little."
The name comes from a Chinese cult, Falun Gong. "Mark almost joined it," Fernandez continues, "but instead he started his own. 'Glazed Paradise' was one of the three paradises mention in their leader's lecture… and the inhabitants of the Glazed Paradise have clear bodies. The name has a sort of appeal too, in that it sounds like a blinged out doughnut littered with sprinkles and filled with strange magic jellies and diamond fairy dust." (Sadly, the work described is not a work in their current catalogue).
The pair has been showcasing their creations across the globe for the last several years. Whether it's a workshop in the West Bank with Banksy, the Vilnius Street Art Festival in Lithuania, or at HAU Hebbel am Ufer with animal sculptures, they always come armed with their tape-shaped limbs. "I think we spark curiosity and maybe a little fear," Fernandez continues. "But I like to think it's a good fear, like when your friend jumps out of somewhere to startle you. It's healthy to get that jolt every once in awhile."
This month, Glazed Paradise appears at POW! WOW! Hawaii, a festival celebrating street art elites and locals alike. Originally from Hong Kong and now in its sixth year, the event runs February 11-18 in Honolulu, its flagship location.
Lead director of POW! WOW! Jasper Wong tells Creators, "It has been a goal of ours to expand our community beautification activations beyond murals. We have brought in site-specific installation artists over the years, such as Hottea who creates colorful yarn sculptures and Slinkachu who create miniature dioramas that he places all over the city. This year we reached out to Glazed Paradise because I've been a fan of their tape sculptures for a long time. I'm excited to see their figures all over the city and triggering new ways to see the urban environment of Hawaii."