Nouar, also know as Noir Nouar is a Los Angeles artist who makes paintings and sculptures inspired by food. Her theme is savory and sweet food, colorful and full of sugar. Her work looks edible and one would be tempted to taste that sweetness. However, what Nouar makes maybe looks sweet, but the subject of her work is a little bitter. Living in consumer-oriented society, we tend to buy things just because they look good. This artist sees through the big advertising game and she intentionally highlights the fact that behind all the lovely and tasty treats, hides the dark side of sales, mass production, and unhealthy lifestyle. Adds are made to please the majority of the population. They are colorful, sweet, warm and cartoonish. When we feel comfortable, we spend more money.
Nouar graduated from Art Center College of Design in 2004 and soon after college she started working as a background painter in the animation studios of Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. While working as a freelance designer and illustrator, she started pursuing her own artistic career and developed quite a unique style. What she does is a mix of cartoonish, sweet, cute, with a dash of vintage, and surprisingly gothic elements. The dark side of her work brings out the deeper disposition. The elements of satire strike at genetically modified food, cultural stereotypes of American cuisine, and ambiguous nature of mid-century advertising style, where almost every pin-up poster had two meanings.
In her paintings there are smiling devils, happy tomatoes, pretty girls eating chocolate shaped like men. Vintage vibe gives her polished paintings a touch of traditional, that again insinuates the need of reevaluation of the family values. Subliminal messages are political and the artist intentionally works on the contrast between joyful and disturbing. Her series called You Look Good Enough To Eat! from 2009 was all made out of oil and acrylic paintings on wood panel. The paintings were friendly, familiar and beautifully stylized, with just a bit of subtle hints on GMO, obesity, and playful jokes on sexual nature of vintage advertisements.
In 2011, Nouar exhibited her first sculptural items under the name Internally Yours. She used silicone molds and a mixture of resin, plastic, and dye. Adding another dimension to her paintings, the artist made her elements even more edible than it was before. The inspiration for her characters came from vintage food commercials, Americana, and mainstream movie culture. Underneath the cuteness, the audience could spot a hidden reference to vegetarianism, animal treatment and usage of sexuality in sales and marketing. Her latest work is more sculptural and even more colorful. Toys, candy, jello and smiling faces are warning us about consumerism and telling us to enjoy a different kind of dolce vita.
The artist is represented by Corey Helford Gallery.
All images used for illustrative purpose only © Nouar
Featured image Nouar - Portrait of the artist (detail), photo credits Stephaniechefas