I’ve used this weekly column to profile about 140 different local artists to date. With the thriving art scene here in SoCal, it hasn’t been too challenging to find a new creative individual to feature each week.
But, what about when I hear of a non-artist who simply comes up with a brilliantly artistic concept?
Well, Long Beach resident Leslie Lay recently conceived the idea of mounting the heads of stuffed toy animals the way hunters do with their quarries. Initially, it may seem that Lay is indulging some dark, sadistic side, and some may even consider her idea unkind toward animals. However, as the loving owner of a dog and two cats, Lay is hardly one to present anything that represents our furry friends in a negative light.
Additionally, she is creating similar pieces that feature heads and bodies of Barbie-type dolls mounted onto plaque-like backings. For someone who is not considered an artist in the traditional sense of the word, Lay has some rather intriguing ideas, and I was looking forward to picking her brain about her projects. There was something compelling about the fact that this “non-artist” individual seemed to have something to say and was choosing to express it artistically. I interviewed her as she was working on one of the naked-doll pieces.
Are these pieces going to be about the objectification of women?
No. That’s too easy. To further that, some women like to be objects, and they can do that if they want. We’ve evolved far enough, I think, that it’s more acceptable to objectify yourself and be proud of it. And the plastic (of the dolls) is part of that.
So, what about the stuffed animals?
Honestly, I think they’re adorable. The idea came to me from trying to come up with my next tattoo. [Lay has 12 of them already.] And it evolved from a jackalope to a Teddy bear mounted, and I thought I’d rather have an actual mounted Teddy bear, or a rabbit, or an elephant. But cute and fluffy, but still evocative of taxidermy and your “prize,” your “trophy.” But it’s cute and fluffy!
Nevertheless, what if someone accused you of promoting violence against animals?
Well, they can do whatever they want. (laughs)
As of press time, Lay does not (yet) have an artist website, nor is she booked for any upcoming art shows. But stay tuned!