Sculptor and artist Jennifer Small of Montreal has several compelling series of work in various mediums, all of which utilize religious iconography. Her “Chocolate Series” are plaster or resin painted sculptures which uncannily resemble edible Easter Chocolates. Made under the faux brand name Pastor’s Milked Chocolates, each large sculpture is packaged in silkscreened cellophane.
Jennifer Small’s Chocolate Series
I spoke with Jennifer on the phone about her work. Her contagious enthusiasm made our conversation not only informative but also enjoyable. In addition to her personal artworks she presently works as a specialized set designer, prop designer and decorator for the Motion Picture industry with several films to her credit.
I asked her how she began with her manipulation of religious imagery and she told me that it began more as a folly than as a serious undertaking. It all started when she spotted a vintage Friedrich Paul Thumann print called “Jesus is Tempted” and she asked herself “what tempts me?” She found that “cookies’ were the answer (a woman after my own heart). With that she searched for the right image of a cookie jar, at the right angle and cut it out and attached it to the print (she does not use photoshop). What began as a joke turned into a series of humorous prints that people just adore.
When it came to her Chocolate Series, it was a large (60″ tall) broken bright red fiberglass statue of a crucified Jesus that caught her eye at a flea market. The color reminded her of those awful, almost inedible, colored Easter candies. She lugged home the statue, painted over it to look exactly like milk chocolate, stuck it on a stick, added some crazy sugar bunny eyes and voilà! The Chocolate Jesus Easter Sucker became the first in the series. The largest piece (the others vary between a foot and 30 inches in height -except for the sheep which stand at just under 4″ tall), it’s the only one from the series that has not sold.
Having studied graphic design -prior to the advent of computers- Jennifer, who is obviously picky about details, created the cellophane by hand, silkscreening the gold emblems, tied it up with ribbon and created the branded hangtags.
Not unlike artist Peter Anton’s Valentine Chocolates, the mixed media sculptures are so impressively rendered, you will be tempted to unwrap them and take a bite. Below are all 13 from the series.
Jennifer’s work has continues to evolve and it’s definitely worth checking out her other art.
all images courtesy of the artist