May 17, 2018 | By Taryn Tavella
Los Angeles based artist Allie Pohl recently launched a new jewellery line, Ideal Woman, which brings her artistic attitude to life. These wearable pieces question images that represent feminine beauty in the media. Taking inspiration from the silhouette of a Barbie doll, the artist has created a new symbol that she hopes will challenge the unattainable ideas of perfection we are inundated with day in and day out. In this way, the Ideal Woman symbol acts as “an agent of change [and] a tool for contributing to female empowerment.” Pohl’s jewellery reminds us that the Ideal Woman is an unnatural, unrealistic and oversimplified portrayal of “beauty.” It serves as a reminder that we are the ideal women — perfectly imperfect.
Following her first showing at Capsule Las Vegas this month, we sat down with Allie Pohl to pick her brain about her new line and her mantra for women everywhere.
Can you tell us a little more about yourself and your background?
I was born and raised in Winter Park, FL. I attended Hamilton College and was a Studio Art minor and Communications major. I wrote my thesis on the rhetoric and the trajectory of the peace symbol. Then I went on to study graphic design at Parsons, The New School for Design, before receiving my MFA from the University of Denver in Electronic Media Arts. I currently live in Venice, CA.
What is the concept behind your jewellery line, Ideal Woman? How did the idea to start the line come about?
I started the Ideal Woman series to challenge the social constructs of perfection. I have always been interested in why we follow certain cultural trends. For example, the concept of body hair and hair removal: we remove hair from certain parts of our body and add it to others.
As a way to respond to this cultural phenomenon, I created a series of sculptures using a “My Size Barbie” (the doll), as a metaphor for the ‘ideal woman,’ and I had Chia grow out of areas where our society removes unwanted hair, e.g. the armpit, vagina, and legs. The sculptures transformed from prepubescent to womanhood during the time of the installation. I was captivated by the shape of the midsection and started to explore different ways to appropriate the shape and what it really represented.
I started the jewellery line as a way to continue the conversation outside of galleries and museums. The movement has already had a number of strong, independent female supporters, such as Lena Dunhman, Rosario Dawson, Sophia Bush, and Jill Solloway.
What kind of materials, details and aesthetics do you focus on?
I first started Ideal Woman jewellery line with Lucite pendants because I had a laser cutter in grad school. It also made them very affordable to produce and sell. Once I moved to Los Angeles, I started the metal line from a die cut, emphasizing the cookie-cutter concept. I just launched a fine line—14k gold, rose gold and sterling silver, both plain and with diamonds, black diamonds and pink sapphires so women can have family heirlooms with a deeper meaning.
I focus on the message of each piece and the best way to convey that concept!
Any plans for growing the brand in the near future?
Yes! As I mentioned above, I just launched a fine line of Ideal Woman jewellery. Idealwoman.us shop also just launched. This is the first time Ideal Woman has its own online presence separate from my portfolio. There will be a “Women of the Month” (WOTM) on the store where we will feature women who we think embody all of the qualities of an Ideal Woman. I am also going to move into home decor with the release of a new Ideal Woman-shaped mirror called “Picture Perfect.”
My goal is to get this message out there in as many ways as possible. Whether through neon, sculptures, necklaces, earrings, sweater clips, stickers or mirrors, the point is the underlying message. Ideal Woman is a symbol that will break the monotony of this unattainable notion of perfection that has become even more persuasive with the rise of mobile social media. Women, and particularly adolescents, need to be reminded that they are beautiful just they way they are…perfectly imperfect!
I am looking forward to continue to expand the line and doing collaborations with other artists and designers who support the movement!
What kind of consumer would wear your jewellery line?
Every woman, because every woman is the IDEAL WOMAN! Men also wear Ideal Woman, the notion of perfection affects everyone!
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