Stephanie Chubbuck

Age: 46
Hometown: Boston
Find her: @stephchubbuck,
Words of wisdom: I’m a big fan of Pinterest and image sharing. I create a databank of things that excite me and inspire me. When you have contact with really cool things or really cool ideas, that stimulates your brain.
Go-to artists: So many. Alan Klein, Petah Coyne, Jana Sterback. On my first day in the [MassArt] fine arts program, Chuck Stigliano said artists are responsible for the evolution of consciousness. … That’s the truth.
I’d like to grab a beer with … Georgia O’Keefe. She was fantastic.

Obscenity, said Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart in 1964, is difficult to define. But “I know it,” he said, “when I see it.”

Boy, Stephanie Chubbuck would have thrown him for a loop.

“I don’t see any value in what you’e doing,” someone once told her.

“I want this in my life,” said another.

“That’s offensive.”

“That’s awesome.”

“Kinda looks like you could make love to it,” said one guy.

“You idiot,” said his wife. “That’s the point.”

Well, sort of. The point, Stephanie says, is that beauty — and art and value and obscenity — is in the eye of the beholder. And whether someone hates her glass-blown fruit (and all of their allegorical trappings) or loves them, is turned on or turned off, doesn’t really matter. They aren’t statements. They’re provocations, and there are no wrong reactions.

“I keep my opinion out,” Stephanie says. “If I’m too heavy-handed with an opinion or an emotion of my own, then it prevents what the viewer brings, and that interaction between the viewer and the art is what’s important to me.

Is that just a cherry?

What’s with the zipper?

Is that a … well, you know?

“I play with that line between vulgarity and modesty, revealing and concealing. But it’s important for me to not be vulgar. My work isn’t something that a kid couldn’t see.”

In a way, Stephanie’s approach to art and allegory is a direct descendent of 16th and 17th century Dutch vanitas, those symbol-rich still lifes of skulls, books, candles, flowers and, yup, over-ripe fruit.

“Those paintings are usually full of food and flowers, but there’s always more to them,” she says. “Sometimes it’s evil, sometimes it’s sexuality, sometimes it’s class. There’s always an undercurrent. But the most important thing is, at first glance, there’s a seduction.”

So, what about her Art of Tröegs piece? Is that just a bottle? What’s with the zipper? Is that a … well, you know?

You tell her.

Art of Tröegs

It’s your turn to get in on the art. Take a piece of Tröegs – bottlecaps, cans, labels, whatever – and create a piece of art. The winner will be $500 richer, and they’ll get their name in lights when we open our brand new art gallery this summer in Hershey, PA. MORE