Eleanor Macnair has worked in the National Portrait Gallery and White Cube promoting art created by others, but now she's turned to producing her own artwork. These Play-Doh portraits were shown in a blog seen by people across the world, before being published in a book. Some of the photographs will be exhibited in a gallery shortly, so we caught up with Eleanor before her show to ask about the work:
Why Play-Doh? What does it offer that other traditional mediums do not?
The whole project started on a whim after going to a pub quiz where one of the rounds was to re-make a famous photograph in Play-Doh, so I cannot take credit for the original idea. I've continued using Play-Doh because it's so cheap and accessible, it only costs £1 per pot and you can re-use it many times. Photographs Rendered in Play-Doh started as an internet project, and in our digital age images can be thought of as disposable — we take a quick look and move on — and Play-Doh seemed like the perfect material to use to represent this.
People often say about modern art that a child could do it. Using a medium associated with child's play, does your work reference this issue?
The project plays with this idea — a child could have done this project, I'd be the first one to agree. I think this is maybe why people like the series, it's refreshing because there is a democracy and an accessibility to it. I've never claimed that it was art or has an intellectual framework, it is what it is, photographs rendered in Play-Doh.
Who are the portraits of?
The images are all of work by either well-known photographers from the past 150 years to the present day, or interesting photographers who are little known, overlooked and I think more people should now about them.
Photographs rendered in Play-Doh by Eleanor Macnair will be on at Atlas Gallery, 49 Dorset St, W1U 7NF from 2 October to 27 November. Entrance is free and the gallery is open 10-6 weekdays and 11-5 Saturdays.