Jennifer Thoreson, Multidisciplinary Artist

American Dream (Ongoing)

(Size: variable)

American Dream is a project in several parts. I am developing fictitious lines of boutique children’s clothing, organized by controversial social issues, such as immigration, bodily autonomy, vaccine science, systematic oppression, and gun legislation. This work is in-progress and is in early stages. Employing dark sarcasm, I hope to challenge people intellectually by appealing to their convictions. I want this work to encroach on an ethical line without crossing it, making evident our collective complicity, and dislodging our skewed moral compass. At completion of the project, I envision an installation of children’s garments, accessories, shoes, and toys, conspicuously staged in a museum space to emulate a high-end boutique.

The Borderlands Collection is a fictitious Children’s boutique clothing line emphasizing the enormous gap in American empathy surrounding the topic of immigration. I intend to draw out and deliberate the conflation of conservative politics and evangelical Christianity, where political agendas directly oppose biblical teaching. My evangelical Christian upbringing uniquely positions me to engage this community in the process of acknowledging their hypocrisy. I hope for viewers to picture their own children in these strange garments and consider the lasting consequences of beliefs which systematically dehumanize and marginalize. I want to probe into rigid and bigoted views surrounding immigration, highlighting apathy and privilege, and promoting empathy. Designer baby clothes denote luxury and security. They speak to our American values, which prioritize one’s image over critical thinking. I want to draw relationships between Americans and immigrants, highlighting the absurdity and danger of valuing one life over another.

The Little Pistol Collection is a fictional line of boutique children’s clothing, highlighting the absurdity, hypocrisy, and horror surrounding gun violence in schools. My interest in ethics within religious communities drives me to look deeply into systematic moral codes and collective thinking, particularly where religious groups have power and influence. God and Guns have somehow become bedfellows, empowering an influential and increasingly powerful sect of the population to justify their views with (un)religious morals. By producing eerily beautiful, trendy and highly commercial garments boasting jarring slogans and images, I hope to jolt viewers and force them to confront the gun violence crisis we Americans collectively face. As viewers imagine children wearing these garments, I hope to humanize the gun crisis and bring it nearer, instigating action and change