Sierra Furtwangler

Dumb Diesel is a continuation and expansion of a body of work begun nearly two years ago using second hand tee shirts. Earlier work in this series was made completely from my own shirts, embedded with a personal and intimate history. This new piece is made from shirts given to me by a stranger, and required a fictional history, coming from without myself, to inform the work. The series as a whole has focused from the beginning on the reinterpretation of the symbols and icons of “popular counter culture” displayed and advertised on the shirts. These images are recontextualized on archetypal figures through the “crafts” of hand sewing and beadwork.

This piece was heavily influenced by my move to Brooklyn one and a half years ago. Suddenly there was no space to build sculpture and no budget for supplies. By necessity the work grew smaller, and at the same time, the process became more detailed and tedious; it was as if I felt that I had to take an entire year to build a two foot by four foot piece, as it had once taken me a year to build a ten foot by sixteen foot piece. Brooklyn has also given the work new icons and stereotypes to exploit. Dumb Diesel’s narrative, characters, and “veneer,” I suppose, are all directly influenced and informed by the people I have met during the past year in Bushwick, and how these people express their identities through their clothing, from New York Hard Core to Thug Bling.