When most folks think of embroidery, they likely envision those kitschy pieces one might see in someone's grandparent's house. The kind that say "Home is Where the Heart Is" or "Life is Beautiful" with cutesy little hearts or the like. They don't say things like, "Nothing Makes Any Fucking Sense" and "Dope as Fuck."
Jaclyn Rose has found quite a market for these snarky little sayings, as well as her other embroidery-based art pieces that she makes using vintage and upcycled materials. Take a line like, "Let sleeping dogs lie. Nobody wants to sit around and listen to you bring up old shit." Whereas one person might think of a line like that and immediately tweet it out, Rose draws a loose sketch of a sleeping dog and heads to her sewing machine.
"I always had these things pop into my head and I'd have no place to put them," says Rose, in her quaint studio in Normal Heights. "I'd just think to myself, 'Oh, these are funny and would be funny somewhere out there in the world,' but people really seem to like them."
However, Rose isn't limited to Jack Handey-esque sayings. She's also made a name for herself with a series of embroidered vagina pieces. Some of these stitchings were recently displayed in Low Gallery's Girls, Girls, Girls. Eyes certainly widened when people viewed embroidered renderings of women touching and often spreading their lady parts. Rose says she's not creating the pieces for shock value but instead to take a personal stance on a controversial topic.
"I really hate the prevalence of pornography. I do believe it devalues women, and men's relationship to women. There's nothing I can really do about it, but for me, my erotic art is taking something that upsets me and making it mine."
Another topic Rose finds fascinating is social media and people's relationships with their smart phones. One piece, "54 Likes," was inspired by the ubiquitous selfies people post on Facebook and Instagram. Rose doesn't have a website, a Facebook page or a Twitter account, but she does stay fairly active on Instagram.
"There are so many selfies and they're always hashtagged. People want strangers to look at them," Rose says. "I'm not criticizing it, I'm just fascinated by it. It's like they're saying, 'Here's me and my phone. Me and my phone are friends.'"
Since moving back from Seattle a couple years ago, Rose has shown at the Community@ Joy Building, San Diego Art Institute and recently became a curator for the annual A Dirty Filthy Show at La Bodega. On March 28, she'll be displaying a new piece at an art show at Rare Form deli in East Village. The show, Gangsters and Geniuses, focuses on the theme of how real-life villains can be brilliant, and vice versa. Rose's piece is a portrait of Griselda Blanco, a Medellin Cartel drug lord in the '70s and '80s, with her young lover Darío Sepúlveda.
In the future, she'd like to get into larger-scale installation-type pieces, but the orders for the smaller pieces keep rolling in. A pretty amazing accomplishment considering, again, her web presence is limited to Instagram. She says she plans on keeping it this way for as long as she can.
"The two-dimensional is already superseding the three-dimensional," says Rose. "I want people to actually come see my work first-hand and if they want to see it again, they'd just have to physically go see it again."