MM Mailbag: Tussy Two-in-One Lipstick
Curator's Corner, 2/16/2014

Happy Valentine's Day from Napoleon Perdis, c/o Felicia Aroney

I have to admit that I hadn't paid much attention to Australian makeup artist Napoleon Perdis's line - nothing about it appealed to me.  I'm also not into Valentine's Day.  But a few days ago I came across these nail polish and lip gloss sets at Refinery 29 and was intrigued by Perdis's collaboration with fellow Aussie Felicia Aroney.   The "Lovebirds" collection features five different sets of nail polish and lip gloss housed in a bag adorned with a painting by Aroney.

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Fittingly, all sets are named after birds.  This is Flamingo:

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Dove and Skylark:


Goldfinch and White Swan:

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As for Aroney, her art is shaped by her Greek heritage and being born and raised in Australia.  Her artist statement summarizes the various influences on her work and explains why birds are a recurring motif: "My greatest influences are the amalgamation of my rich Australian upbringing and my Greek heritage. My fascination with the appearance of ancient Greek ruins and the ritual of the re-painting of homes on the Greek Islands stirs my imagination and shapes my art. Layers of paint being re-applied on walls over the centuries, exposing glimpses of colour from a previous life, reminds me of the passing of time. Using a palette knife and using specially made canvases designed to carry the weight of the paint, I prompt the viewer to study the canvas where they can see subtle crevasses of colour.  I incorporate the beautifully animated Australian Fairy wren bird. They delight the canvas with their communicative nature. Incorporating both the Fairy Wrens and the textured Grecian backgrounds are a way of marrying both my heritages."

Indeed, the paint in the backgrounds is so thick that Aroney "carves" her signature into it (in the lower right).  I like how the delicacy of the wrens plays off of the dense, heavy layers of the background.  For the Perdis collaboration, Aroney painted an entire series of "love birds" for the Napoleon Perdis Lifestyle Store and Gallery in Sydney. 

This is Love Birds (2014):


I Pick You (2014):


In for the Kiss (2014):

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However, I think the painting that was actually chosen for the makeup bag was one completed in 2013 entitled Sunday Chatter.

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How did the collaboration come about?  Aroney explained to the Sydney Herald, "Napoleon loves my paintings, and has bought several, which are in his homes in Australia and America...he rang me from Los Angeles and proposed this idea of applying one of my art works to a makeup bag, and he thought the Love Birds would be appropriate for Valentine's Day." She adds that she's happy her work made its way to beauty items:  "My art is there to be shared, viewed and discussed and I love that I can apply my creativity in a different way."

What are your thoughts, both on Aroney's work and the resulting collaboration with Napoleon Perdis?  I'm still on the fence as to whether one of these sets will make it into the Museum's collection.

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