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Jaimie Warren Is A Total Character

December 11, 2015

How does an artist honor her heroes? Matching the playful “anything goes” aesthetic of its subject, this film explores the photographic and video work of Brooklyn-based artist Jaimie Warren as she recreates a wild array of pop culture characters. Coming of age in Wisconsin in the 1980s and 1990s, Warren learned to love the out-sized personalities and distinct looks of “weirdos” like Freddy Krueger, Miss Piggy, Grace Jones, Elvira, and Dolly Parton. Inspired by do-it-yourself Halloween costumes, Warren traces the evolution of her photographic work, from impromptu goofs to more elaborately art-directed portraits.

“Seeing what I’m capable of with the resources that I have, it’s just fun for me,” she explains. “I especially like the grosser or weirder it can be from me but—not just covering myself up with a costume—being able to see that it’s me but that I look completely different.” At the American Medium gallery in Brooklyn, Warren rehearses and shoots her latest work—a music video inspired by singer Freddie Mercury and a 14th-Century religious painting—with a group of friends and long-time collaborators.

For Warren, her celebrity-saturated works are not ironic pastiches but, instead, playful imaginings of an alternate universe where her motley group of idols can come together and interact in an unexpected community. Says Warren, “They’ve all helped along…my artistic spirit, and why should they not be friends? And why should I not thank them for that? So I am. Thank you.”

More information and credits

Featuring photographs from the series Celebrites as Food & Food’lebrities and Totally Looks Like and video work from the exhibitions That’s What Friends Are For (2014), You Are Not Alone (2014), and Somebody to Love (2015). The painting St. Cosmas and St. Damian (ca. 1370–1375) by Master of the Rinuccini Chapel (Matteo di Pacino) is courtesy of the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh (Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation).


Art21 New York Close Up Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Director: Nick Ravich. Editor: Anita Hei-Man Yu. Cinematography: Tabha Joshi, Evan Kleinman, & Andrew Whitlatch. Sound: Tabha Joshi, Evan Kleinman, & Nick Ravich. Design & Graphics: Crux Studio, Open, & Anita Hei-Man Yu. Artwork: Jaimie Warren & North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh. Music: Matt Roche. Thanks: Jessy Abid, American Medium, Tim Barber, Kim Bourus, Kim Corona, Sofie Dixon, Leslie Diuguid, Eileen Emond, Peter Fankhauser, Ray Ferreira, Travis Fitzgerald, Garrett Fuselier, Yolene Grant, Yulan Grant, Kathy Grayson, Lindsey Griffith, Lee Heinemann, Matthew Leifheit, Phyllis Ma, Whitney Mallett, Keith Mandak, Rudy Martinez, Daria Mateescu, Genesis Monegro, Megan Nelson, Justin Oswald, Joshua Pavlacky, Josh Pavlick, Tara Perkins, Anna Platt, Matt Roche, Francesc Ruiz, Erin Sheehy, Jake Sigl, Rachel Stern, Kaitlyn Stubbs, Danielle Sweeney, Monika Uchiyama, Daniel Wallace, Calder Zwicky, & Erin Zona. An ART21 Workshop Production. © ART21, Inc. 2015. All rights reserved.

Art21 New York Close Up is supported, in part, by The Lambent Foundation; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; and by individual contributors.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Jaimie Warren

Jaimie Warren was born in 1980 in Waukesha, Wisconsin; she lives and works in New York. Warren’s photography and performance practice is deeply connected to her work with Whoop Dee Doo, a traveling variety show produced in collaboration with other artists and children. Having developed projects with hundreds of people over the years, Warren is as interested in the development of a meaningful—and fun—community as she is in her solo practice.

“Seeing what I’m capable of with the resources that I have, it’s just fun for me… Not just covering myself up with a costume—being able to see that it’s me but that I look completely different.”

Jaimie Warren

Costumes & Roleplaying

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