Scott Hove will be bringing his cake creations, which are out of this world, to Miami for Select Art Fair. Scott has given his cakes life; snarling, vicious, colorful, vibrant and delicious life. His new series features cake guns, three of which we are proud to announce will be coming down to Miami. Check out his interview:
Do you listen to music while you work?
I do listen to music when I work… lately it has been traditional Hawaiian or Persian classical music when I need calm, and when I need some darkness I listen to doom bands like Electric Wizard, and I’ve been getting into music that lies somewhere between black metal and noise. Very hellish.
Growing up it was a lot of Stevie Wonder, Simon and Garfunkel, Buddy Holly, Elvis.
Why cakes? Socially cakes are mostly used for celebratory purposes, what significance does cake have for you?
When I made my very first fake cakes, I did it just to see if I could make a decent looking fake cake like the ones I had admired in shop windows. After seeing the reaction people had to them, which was wonder combined with happiness, I realized that by working with cake, I could be working with a language that has a deep collective emotional base. From there I have been taking that celebratory representation and manipulating it with decidedly un-cakelike emotions.
Why have you given fangs and snarling mouths to so harmless an item? What does the juxtaposition of violence upon so innocent an object mean to you?
Making a fake cake is easy. Doing it with skill is not. But even a skillfully crafted fake cake is never going to be anything else other than a simple representation of food. Adding the violent elements is not an imposition of violence on that object, in the case of my body of work… it is an integration. The end result may seem contradictory and juxtaposed, and it can be that, but the most successful art will really integrate the wildly contrasting elements into a truthful story. Nature is the living archetype of this integration I’m talking about. Every living thing is a combination of beauty and deadly defense.
What would you say to someone who reads commentary on America’s obesity epidemic into your work? That your cakes are fanged and snarling as a representation of sugar and fat? What other interpretations have you heard? Do you agree with them or not? How do you respond when someone proposes an interpretation that has nothing to do with the intended meaning?
I really appreciate diverse interpretations of my work. I intentionally keep things suggestive enough to start a dialogue, but ambiguous enough for viewers to have to really work to come to a sensible conclusion. The relationship to the epidemic of poor eating habits is a reasonable connection, but not one that I really am personally concerned about… but my concerns are not what I want people to think about when faced with one of my pieces.
How did you come up with the idea to shift from cakes to guns? Have you ever shot or owned a gun? In your description you mention that you have given the hyper-masculinized assault weapon a forced feminization, how do you think this has added to the narrative of guns that is currently occurring in the United States? What is your stance? Your feminization of weapons will allow viewers to see them in a different light, but what light?
Doing a series of guns was an easy transition from the fang cakes. Rather than starting from a place of beauty and adding the violence, I started from a place of violence and added the beauty. At the time I made the guns, the argument between gun rights activists vs. gun safety advocates was in full force… this was right after the Sandy Hook massacre. In my view, the behavior of the NRA after that event was really reprehensible and totally lacking in empathy to the victims and anyone else who was trying to mourn what had happened. The pro-gun advocates really have a fetishized personal identification with their violent looking weapons, and I felt that this needed to be addressed and made fun of. That is why I put a big black dildo onto a short barreled M4 painted pink with cherries… to make the frenzied gun advocates feel like the assholes that they are acting like.
That said, I am a responsible gun owner, as well as witness to many acts of violence involving guns. Though I may disagree with the NRA, I have guns for the same reasons that the gun freaks do- to protect myself from the maniacs who on occasion shoot up the neighborhood where I live in Oakland.
Tell us about the three pieces you’re sending to Select Art Fair, what are the guns being featured? Is there significance to the specific guns you’ve chosen? Guns are currently incredibly divisive in this country, and as artists are stereotyped as on the liberal side of the spectrum, how do you feel as an artist framing such a fractured discussion?
Some of these questions have been addressed above. I have chosen three guns for the most absurd of reasons. I took three fierce machine guns and gave them a makeover. For the piece ‘RX’ I just wanted to make it look pretty. For ‘Glamicide’ I wanted it to look really gay. For ‘Bad Hostess’ I simply wanted it to look creamy and delicious.
What do you have planned after Select? Do you have another object you want to ‘cakeify’? Have you thought about that? Do you feel defined by your medium? Are you interested other media?
I am always working on new additions to the oeuvre… Cakeland is not just a series of sculptures, but an ongoing process of integrating fear into that which is beautiful and safe. I am working on installations, chandeliers, and large scale kinetic works. I will not give away any details beyond this. Thank you for the question of being defined by my medium… I don’t mind how I am defined by what I do, but I always have to be vigilant around how I’m defined by the very people who promote my work, and their agenda. They need a cohesive product to market, which is crucial, but can be very reductive to the bigger story. I need to tell an epic story, and see a trajectory for a lifetime, but that can create headaches for people trying to sell my work. I guess being a successful career artist is about gracefully negotiating this ground. I am interested in other media. I have a large body of paintings, drawings and prints. I do giant murals, and installations using rope and knots. All of these will appear at some point in Cakeland.
What is your favorite piece of art you have done? What is your favorite piece of your own work? What similarities/differences do you see in each?
I just built a Hell Pit for the Cakeland Mirror Maze at my storefront studio gallery. I can’t tell you how much enjoyment I get from having my own Hell Pit. I also love the 8 x 10′ painting over my sofa. They are all aspects of the bigger story of integrating dualistic principles that I’ve tried to explain here. And I always feel like the current piece I’m working on is the best thing I’ve ever done, whether it is or not.
Nigerian palm wine is pretty damn good!