Saint Augustine’s University art students were one of three winners in the Fall 2013 Park Pictures Billboard hosted by the North Carolina Museum of Art. The winning teams each received $500 prizes for their work. The work is entitled Expensive Tastes, a billboard the students created that is intended to be a visual metaphor for consumerism.
The billboard depicts consumerism as buying in excess, and not necessarily for survival, according to the statement students submitted with the work. The billboard shows an open mouth gulping products ranging from bananas to high-tech gadgets, from the necessities of life to self-indulgent luxuries.
“The mouth symbolizes consumers,” said Anthony McKinney, a senior from Washington, D.C., who was one of several student representives chosen to go to the museum to discuss the work. “The products are all delivered by a dump truck onto a huge tongue. The tongue stretches out to express how important and powerful consumerism is. In contrast to the tranquil environment of the park, this materialism looks silly, chaotic, and out-of-touch.”
More than 30 art majors at St Augustine’s collaborated on the project. They formed teams to create different proposals. These proposals consisted of their definition of what consumerism means to their generation. The students developed the image by merging ideas from everyone into a first draft. The students produced the final image by contributing their individual talents. Media used in the billboard include paint, photography, and graphic design.
The billboard will be displayed in the museum, which is located at 2110 Blue Ridge Road in Raleigh, for several months.