1/ As a Fine Art major, Jamonn Roberts helped create this “meditation sanctuary.” 2/ Roberts’ final project, Bulletproof Lemonade Stand, explores paranoia and society’s overcompensation for safety. 3/ At Art Center, Roberts helped build this outdoor brick “throne.” Portrait of Jamonn Roberts by Jennie Warren PHOT ’05
Roberts continued his work with Foundation 4 Life even as a full-time student, but in order to meet the rigorous demands of his studies, he had to scale back the program to a summer camp model. As it turned out, the camp—affectionately called “Man Camp” by the participating boys and girls—inspired Roberts to take his final project into unexpected territory. During the summer camp before his final term at Art Center, the kids had expressed an interest in making money, so Roberts started an entrepreneurship activity for them that involved selling lemonade at the Santa Monica Beach. A pair of unfortunate events—first a homeless man confronted the kids, and then their water cooler was stolen— led Roberts to brainstorm a concept with the kids: how could you make selling lemonade in an urban setting a completely safe enterprise? The campers threw out their ideas, and Roberts went back to the studio to translate their ideas into a work of art. The end result? Bulletproof Lemonade
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Stand, an installation that transforms the archetypal wooden stand into a wheeled and enclosed structure outfitted with equipment designed for maximum protection: a surveillance camera, a BB gun, machetes, shivs, emergency lights, an amplified loudspeaker and an escape hatch. “The installation is about protection in general,” said Roberts. “But it’s also exploring paranoia and overcompensation for safety.” And in another unconventional move, Roberts attributed the installation not to himself, but to “M. Camp,” an
abbreviation for Man Camp. That was an important decision for Roberts. He sees the collective attribution as “taking the hero out” of the equation—a sort of reversal of what artists like Jeff Koons or Takashi Murakami do when creating their work. But most importantly, Roberts said the attribution meant something to the kids. “It gave them a sense of pride,” said Roberts. “It let them know they were part of something major. They were part of a real art installation.”
Published on Jun 9, 2011
Published on Jun 9, 2011
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