Paper Doll Transmission

Paper Doll is an ongoing transmission art collaboration with Colleen Shull. The Paper Doll series is posted on Instagram at @justinshull and @colleenshullstudio using the hashtag #paperdolltransmission.

Project Statement

Our two­-and­-a-­half­-year-­old daughter recently discovered that Pink is for girls, and that Blue is only for her little brother. We did not teach her gender-­based color assignment, yet it has become a principle by which she now organizes her life. We recognize that we share the privilege of educating our children with many others, not least of whom is a group of commercial entities whose prerogative is to establish behavioral norms and consumption patterns that benefit their business interests.

Paper Doll is an evolving collaborative series in response to the influence consumer culture has upon our children’s developing sense of identity. The series explores the female body image as it is presented to us in the mainstream fashion magazines that target the female market segment. Our daughter does not yet recognize that the women staring at her from the magazine covers, as we wait in the checkout line at the grocery store, are giving her inviting, seductive, unapologetically erotic gazes, compelling her to discover their secrets to success. We are in an arms race with these images, so we place them on the conveyer belt and bring them home to transform them, to explore their codes of femininity, fertility, and consumerism, their deeply rooted archetypes and their biological messages.

We transform the magazine pages through cutting, tearing, excavation, physical manipulation and relayering. Throughout the series, the physical magazine page provides a metaphor for the body’s thin exterior, the skin, and the layers of product that cover the skin in the advertisements. The magazine is a sedimentary collection of pages from which other physical artifacts emerge.

-Colleen Shull & Justin Shull, 2015

Follow Paper Doll on Instagram

Follow the series on Instagram: #paperdolltransmission@justinshull, @colleenshullstudio