Saturday night at Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles saw the opening of a new group art show entitled "Muchos KSTEW." The collection delivered exactly what the title promises: lots and lots of art featuring Kristen Stewart, with about 50 people contributing oil paintings, watercolors, needlepoints, mixed mediums and even sculpted sex toys for this visual art celebration of everyone's favorite "Twilight" actress.
As you might imagine, I was immediately intrigued and excited by the concept, and I would happily have lined up hours in advance to the be first one through the doors. Unfortunately, I live on the wrong coast and had to appease myself with speaking to the show's creator and curator, artist and animator Julia Vickerman.
Originally, we had agreed to speak over the phone early on Sunday, so I could get the scoop out to you Twi-hards first thing Monday. But the show was such a triumph that Julia had to nurse her success hangover until late evening. Though she was tired and still overwhelmed, Julia's excitement about Kristen Stewart radiated through my phone's receiver.
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I have to get the obvious question out of the way first: How the hell did this start?
[laughs] I've been doing Kristen Stewart art for various group shows for years. Then, someone at a party suggested I should do a group show of all KStew. I laughed it off because I didn't think anyone I know would be interested, but immediately two or three people in my vicinity said, "Are you kidding? I'd love to do something on Kristen Stewart." Over the next couple weeks, I quickly found over 50 other artists who not only agreed to participate but were excited to do it.
Why are you so obsessed?
It sounds creepy, but basically I just enjoy looking at her face, and think about it a lot. Even when she was a child actor in "Panic Room," she just always appears very, very tired. She looks like she has an old soul. There's something about her presence on camera and how she carries herself. She's very intriguing. A lot of times, it looks like she hasn't slept for two days and it's exciting to think about: "What were you doing? Why were you awake so long? What were you thinking about?" I'm not interested in the gossip surrounding her. Her actual life I bet isn't as interesting as the persona I've built of her in my head.
Some angry "Twilight" fan yesterday was angry about the show and posted a mean comment online about how we weren't paying tribute to Kristen Stewart but to a caricature of her that I made up in my head because my "creepy infatuation"... which is basically true. That random, angry person kind of pinpointed it. Then they proceeded to call me a vile human being or something like that.
You've gotten criticism from Twi-hards and non-fans alike, right?
I'm surprised at how much! I just thought this would be a fun thing. I've gotten flack from hipster artists who say, "Why are you doing this? She's a bad actress. She's boring. She's just this overexposed "Twilight" girl." Then I've gotten flack from Kristen Stewart fans who think I'm just exploiting her persona to make a profit. That's hilarious to me, because I never make a profit from these art shows.
Some people were really angry about the nude portrayals of her in the show, which I didn't even think about before. Someone commented, "It's okay if you show Kristen's breasts, but please don't show her vagina." I mean, what the hell does that mean? You do realize these are photos, right? These are artists' interpretations. It's all in fun. Kristen Stewart would not give two s***s about this show, I guarantee. Some of her fans were saying, "Please get Kristen's permission. It's only okay to do this show with her permission." They treat her like she's some poor, young, helpless girl.
What submission were you most surprised by?
Kirsten Lepore did these hand-cast dildos and vibrators with Kristen Stewart's head on them. The likeness is amazing. They're gorgeous. I don't look at these dildos and see it as a mockery. So many people have called this show an ironic mockery, which is the opposite of what I intended. I was so bummed. I was not doing this to make fun of anybody. The show's about infatuation.
Where do you see the line between "fan art" and this show?
I guess there really isn't much of a line, is there? I still consider what I do "fan art" because by definition it is. Fan art isn't defined by the quality of it. Some of the artists in this show aren't necessarily fans as much as they think she's a beautiful subject. I suppose in most people's minds, though, the term "fan art" cheapens it because they assume it's done by someone without training, but that's an incorrect assumption.
Will you keep doing Kristen Stewart art, or did this show quench your thirst for it?
I'm starting a blog called Muchos KSTEW, where I'll post all the art from this show and accept online submissions. I just really love the idea of a blog dedicated only to art inspired by her.