sylvesterballs sylvesterballs
Cartoon Culture

Phallic Sylvester by artist Daniel Edwards

Fe, Fi, Fo Fat – I tawt I taw a puddy tat!” (a direct quote from Tweety and the Beanstalk, 1957). Yes, that’s what it looks like. It’s a bronze statue by artist Daniel Edwards called “Allegory of a Teen Sex Symbol (Justin Bieber)”, now showing at the Cory Allen Contemporary Art gallery. From their website:

“Daniel wanted to create a work that opens a dialogue about the inevitable exploitation of teen sex symbols as they grow from child stars to adults, like we’ve seen with past celebutantes Lindsay, Miley, and Britney,” said the artist’s representative Cory Allen.

“It would be naïve and hypocritical for anyone to be offended by this simple sculpture, yet be apathetic towards the plethora of images to which they subject themselves on a daily basis,” said Daniel Edwards, “I stand by the work.”

I dare say this is unlicensed and unauthorized.

(Thanks, Devlin)

  • Chris

    This sounds like something Jeff Koons would do. Oh wait…he did.

  • Haha! Sufferin’ something (insert clever word here)!

  • The Gee

    Okay. So there is a story behind it but does it have a tail, too?

    If he hadn’t explained it, I wouldn’t have understood it as “saying” anything.

    • doodoo

      the fact that you know what its statement is proves that he was effective in putting his thoughts out there. the visuals and title provided by the artist are pretty much the reason why everyone here now knows the idea behind it.

      • The Gee

        So, I didn’t need to see the statue of the cartoon characters and could have stuck with the reading artist’s statement?

        He is just conflating the importance of what he is saying and overly justifying the piece. to be quite honest, the work doesn’t seem at all striking.

        Oh sure, he saw it and he made it. Bravo. He’s a doer. He has vision of existing created art and he re-envisioned that existing art. Just like people who work in commercial arts do all the time. But, to try and make a big statement out of that, out of something maybe someone tacky would give as a gift–if it cost under ten bucks, that is–it is just a bit too much. (I’m sure their are sex toy makers who had similar ideas involving cartoon characters and acted on that brilliant idea years ago.)

        I will admit that I think trying to make cartoon characters into “high art” is a losing endeavor. I don’t care if it is a painting by Carl Barks, Chuck Jones or Roy Liechtenstein. It is just taking the art to a level of unintentional absurdity.
        Making goofy cartoon based art like that or like this is not really worth it unless you think cartoon collectors are gonna buy it just cuz the art exists.

        And, for this artist to make something so derivative and to try to claim that it mocks something by needing to name drop some Flash in the Pan’s pop singer’s name in order to validate how the piece is relevant to a socio-cultural problem when you know the entire package (pun freaking intended) needing to include said Statement is just cynical on the part of the artist. If it sells, great. Let someone keep it to themselves. But, “doo doo,*” don’t try to say that he succeeded with needing to explain the dang piece of crap.


      • doodoo

        the point i made was saying that without using a cartoon sculpture as his subject, you may have never paid attention to a sculpture with that statement. we aren’t his target audience but whether he knows and intended for it or not, using that as his subject matter made his audience grow (apparently to some small degree).

        it was a response to his previous sculpture: so the sculpture posted here was hyped up to be the reveal of the ‘hidden private parts’ of the first sculpture. i just found that out, and its pretty funny. look at all the exposure he got from the first statue (a shit ton), and to respond to it by baiting the same people that follow and popularize the exploitation of celebrity teens with something like that? it’s not that he is ‘trying’ to make a big statement, he IS making the statement and the celebrity-documenting journalists writing all about it makes it even funnier. im not defending the work because it is amazing or striking (i dont care about celebrities enough or ‘unauthorized’ use of cartoons as much as people here seem to), im defending it because it seemed obvious what he was trying to do and say with it, yet people start freaking out and raise their fine art picket signs.

        how can you say making ‘goofy cartoon based art like that or like this’ isn’t worth it unless a cartoon collector buys it because it exists? who are you to say what is worth and not worth doing? is the point of art to you only worth it because of money? do you know people can make quirky things and not show them publicly? are cartoon related things only for cartoon collectors? how narrow minded is your view on art related to cartoons? there seems to be such a harsh elitism people can easily attain when they are well versed in cartoons, isn’t that ironic?

      • The Gee

        On your rhetorical questions at the end:

        Cartoons, in general, have enough irony built into them that to go further, with a capital T, isn’t too difficult for those who are good at making cartoons. In fact, there are fairly good examples of cartoons which do a good job of making fun of cartoon and toy collectors and which question the value placed on objects by collectors.

        In a way, what this artists has accomplished just isn’t as astonishing to me. Just like seeing too many examples of indigenous art totems or items which are more ornamental than judgmental can come across as blase or run-of-the-mill…kind of cliched.

        True, I guess I’ve seen too much. Too much high, low and middle-brow art and since I try to dabble in all three (or more?) areas when possible seeing someone who probably isn’t a cartoonist try to comment upon something “big” and controversial by being cynical outside of the realms of making a cartoon to express himself just rankles me too much.

        Ward Kimball could use animation to make great statements. Walt Kelly and Herrriman could use cartoon animals to make what is almost impossible to proclaim as run-of-the-mill. Even “Toy Story 2” seems to poke fun at the collectors (some would say, rather well). Maybe that movie makes less than Chris Ware does in some comic books he made but I dunno, I haven’t read everything he’s made.

        If the artist, that sculptor, were a cartoonist first, I’d cut him slack. Maybe that is wrong of me but my hope is he would have made a cartoon to express himself and not try to make something which just looks tacky and kitschy more than “groundbreaking” or whatever adjectives are trotted out to exalt it….you know, if any are saying positive things about this or related works.

        but, what do I know?

  • MBThomas

    Ow! My Childhood. :(

  • Confusion

    I have to be honest here. I don’t get this, or how it relates to Justin Beiber in the slightest.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      I sure don’t know!

  • I always find it astounding how full of horseshit most “fine artists” seem to be.

    I learned that waaay back in college, during an “Art Survey” course. When asked to analyze various pieces of art as a “pop quiz”, I’d just vocalize whatever nonsense happened to occur to me on the spot. The idiot professor would then ooh and ahh over how wonderful my observations were!

    Maybe I’m in the wrong business. Instead of learning how to write and draw and tell a story effectively, I should be fleecing wealthy art-lovers for a living!

    • Richard Tom

      [Comment removed by editors. Per our commenting guidelines, “Be considerate and respectful of others in the discussion. Defamatory, rude, or unnecessarily antagonistic comments will be deleted.”]

    • Ryoku

      Scott, what you said is simply too true, I create art solely for humor and fun, not for people to stick in meanings.

  • Rick R.

    I’d rather be naive than cynical and hypocritical like the “artist” here.

    There’s no context to the piece, just another banal assault on the senses and sensitivities that we the viewers are supposed to applaud because it’s somehow “artistic” and it’s gotta be offensive to be art, right?

  • Jesse Pindus

    Geez! Worst abomination to Looney Tunes ever! Sylvester and Tweety have absolutely nothing to do with Justin’ effin’ Bieber’s privates!

  • It’s a commentary on Justin Beiber’s music!
    It hurts as much going in your ear holes as this sculpture would hurt going in any other holes.

  • cbat628

    What is this… I don’t even :/

  • “blah blah blah pretentious bullshit blah blah lol penis blah blah.”

    I hate the fine art world.

  • Jenny

    I dunno..I think it’s kinda funny.

  • Toonio

    Looks like a big… Johnson! come over here and see what they posted on Cartoon Brew.

  • I don’t get the relation with Justin Bieber either, unless they’re asuming cartoons are for kids while Justin is a young sex symbol so using cartoons in a sex context is somehow similar to Bieber being “handsome” for some of his fans.

    Anyway the idea of a phallic Sylvester with his two Tweety-balls is funny.

    Though I must be too naive cause I admit that I didn’t thought about a penis until I read the text. I thought the picture was just some kind of composition that used Tweety’s head twice just for some aesthetic reason. And I rather like how it looks, no matter what it means.

  • Snappy

    Where’s the not safe for work at?

    • Richard Tom

      If this could get you in trouble at work, I’d say you should look for work outside of the Provo branch of the Taliban.

  • James Ciambor

    One wonders why they continue to have sexual innuendos. Its not because its caustic I’m all for pushing the censors, its because its banal and unoriginal. How many times have we rehashed jokes on orientation, bodily functions, and anatomy parts? We have been making groinal and bodily function jokes for decades in all forms of entertainment. Daniel is quite talented but concepts work best when they try to experiment in new territory.

    Of course people are going to think that I problem with the abrasiveness of it, when the dilemma is originality.

  • frankfully, i’m going to see an Espranza Spalding concert (the Grammy winner Bieber lost for “Best New Artist”)- so all I can say is:

    • Jerry, I take that comment back. I am 98% sure I’m probably not going to that concert due to personal issues.

  • Ryoku

    I’m not offended, nor am I disgusted.

    But I am confused as to how this is art, or even worth discussing.

  • Luke Shea

    I’m normally a defender of the Modern Art scene, including artists whose work I don’t really enjoy, but whom I still respect and find worth thinking about (Joseph Bueys, for example).

    But this guy really rubs me the wrong way. Some of the other stuff on his Facebook page is zbrush work I could literally do in under a minute. Check this one out:

    That’s three jpgs stolen from google and stamped on a plane. That’s not art. It’s just a dozen mouse-clicks worth of hideous plagiarism.

    • ZBrush makes everything magic!
      Mudbox and 3D-Coat are each only three-fifths as magical.

      • Luke Shea

        HA HA!

        To clarify: I don’t think zbrush sculpture is a lesser form of art or anything. Some of my favorite art being produced today is made in zbrush, and there is very little in life I enjoy so much as the first two hours of a new zbrush project. I scoff at the the man’s methods, not his tools.

  • I’m sorry, but what does this have to do with tween/teen idols and the sexual objectification thereof? Now if it was a sculpture of Justin Bieber naked except for a pair of Tweety briefs maybe it would follow the artist’s statement a bit more, but that would imply that the artist put that much thought into the piece beforehand.

    I’m not offended, but I’m not amused or wowed about it either. So he sculpted male anatomy out of cartoon characters, big deal. It’s just Looney Tune fanart when you think about it.

  • Sylvester could just be wearing big, plush Tweety slippers.

  • s.w.a.c.

    Anybody else notice this was on display at the “CACA Gallery”?

  • Conor

    If I hadn’t read the description, I would have thought it was lampooning the stereotype of the modern artist being obsessed with phallic imagery. Imagine my disappointment at realizing it was just the work of a stereotypical modern artist, obsessed with phallic imagery.

  • those hands are rubbish

  • I think it’s decent (ok) art, and (Jerry, I’m sure you know this) he doesn’t have to license it to make it. This is what the First Amendment is all about. Satire is in the same category.