Hayley Murphy - Statue of Liberty with chocolate - artist interview
Out of the depths of photographer Hayley Murphy’s psyche spills out somecolorful goo, in the shape of a Martianpainting a Statue of Liberty with choco-late, and an Islamic rebel strapped witha machine gun, devouring a table of sweets. Murphy captures images that pop into her head, that stew in her sub-conscious as she sleeps and dreams, and glues these mental clues together, bring-ing life to what her unconscious brainis trying to tell her, which results ininsanely-colorful photographic riddlesthat never stop producing questions,or giving answers. With the rawness of Hans Bellmer, the famboyance of DavidLa Chapelle and the confusion-inducinggenius of David Lynch, she wrestles hermind-blips in front of the lens to seewhat the puzzle looks like once all the pieces are in place. Here’s a look intohow her mind rolls....
How did creating a photo of a green Martian painting a Statue of Liberty with chocolate even begin?
I was thinking about life on other planets, and who put the idea in ourheads that people from Mars were little green creatures…do people in Si-beria think the same thing? So in my head I saw this photograph of me ata Halloween party when I was eight,trying to eat an apple hanging on astring, and I was dressed in a Martiancostume. I’d taken a brown paper bag,colored it with green crayon, cut somearmholes and a head hole—got somegreen face paint, some bobbly anten-nas and voila! So I had that image inmy head—and I’m sort of a sci-f fend,so I thought, a Martian needs a space-ship, how do you make a spaceship? Ithought of aluminum foil—like a Da- vid Bowie-esque spaceship, with redlights and a Buck Rogers-like favor.And then I started thinking about alady I met who covered her head in tinfoil because she thought people were reading her mind. Maybe Martians? So I started taping aluminum foil onmy walls, thinking that there are peo-ple out there who probably cover theirhouses like this, and then that got methinking about obsessive compulsive disorder…it took me forever to putup all that tin foil. Each time I put upa new piece I had to crinkle it, then make it fat, put all this tape on it, thenf gure out where it was gonna go…
And being that obsessive made you crave chocolate?
Well, with the Magic Shell ice-creamtopping—you know, that stuf that hardens when you pourit over ice cream?!—thatbrings me back to my childhood too, aroundthe same time as the Martian costume. Andyeah, maybe I just really wanted some. But beingan artist, I thought it’d becool to make the Statueof Liberty out of that.
Why a Statue of Liberty?
I was reading about how Boeing was trying to manufacture war planes for Saudi Arabia, and was also thinking about how it’d be smart for artists to make peace art for oth-er countries. Like how France gave us the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of friendship.Instead of building things that are go-ing to kill people, build something that could beneft people. I sound all hip-pie, but it’s been done before, it’s justthat our attitude toward other coun-tries today makes the idea seem so outthere.
So what do you think when you see the photo now?
Whatever is going on in my life or theworld at the time somehow gets re- vealed. For instance, I put the Martianpicture—which I later titled “Symbol of Friendship”—out as a Halloweenpromo, but once I sent it out I realizedthat the gubernatorial election was intwo days, and the Statue of Liberty wasin there… so then the photo took on adiferent meaning for me.
It’s funny that the Martian is green, and the real Statue of Liberty is greenish.
Oh…you’re right, I didn’t realize that.Wow, it’s just crazy.
I can relate to your “Delicious” photo,of the woman with the machine gun be-hind those sweets—sometimes I feel likeI’d do anything for sugar.
I had this one health problem andnothing would get rid of it, and I’d readabout the benefts of a no-sugar diet.So I was really dedicated to this diet,and I walked past this candy store andsaw all these really beautiful candies,and I just daydreamed that if I were toeat them, I’d be such a rebel.
What is the writing in the background?
I looked up “yummy” in the Inter-net translator because I wanted thebackground to look like the terrorists’group-labeled backdrop on fV. “Yum-my” was translated into “delicious”—so it’s supposed to say “delicious” inArabic.
You say your photos are from day-dreams… can you explain more?
I could stare at a wall for days and betotally entertained by what I see in my head. I feel like I’m in between twoworlds a lot. My process has a lot to dowith consciousness and unconscious-ness, and how I fgure things out. Teunconscious brain—like when you’redreaming and sleeping—makes upstories with pictures, in order to say something to your conscious mind, towork out problems. It’s a smarter way to learn.
What do you feel like your mind has fg-ured out so far?
A woman at a gallery once told me,“Oh you’ll never make it as an artphotographer, only a certain amountof people do.” But I think that’s totalbullshit. Whatever your dream is, itcan be done. Everybody has art thathangs in their house, why shouldn’tmy art be hanging in their house? Orin a museum? When I go into a muse-um, I’m surrounded by all these thingsthat represent a moment in history. Asartists, we’re telling a story of our ex-perience in this world, at this momentin time. And here’s my interpretation.
sourcehttp://hayleymurphy.comPop Surrealism Magazine - Summer 2011