See more photos in “Sanrio Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary with 'Small Gift.'”
L.A.-based artist Peekaboo Monster has neighbors who make soap. He wanted to include soap in his work for Small Gift, Sanrio's 50th anniversary art show currently running at Santa Monica Barker Hangar. But how was he going to combine the two?
Fight Club, of course.
“Honestly, we were all just kind of hanging out one night and drinking and having fun and it just kind of clicked,” he said at the November 11 opening party. “I was like, 'Let's tie it into a Fight Club theme. It will tie it in with the soap and we'll make the characters basically kind of being turned into the soap bars.'”
Plastered with posters that read “Sanrio 50th Club: Have you picked a character lately?”, Peekaboo Monster's installation is as much a tribute to the gruesome world of Fight Club as it is to the cuteness of Sanrio.
“It was a fun idea,” said Peekaboo Monster. “I like the movie. It was different from what Sanrio would normally do with their characters.”
The installation features four portraits of Sanrio characters who remain easily recognizable despite their bruises and gashes. These paintings– “Keroppi Hopi Dream,” “Badtz Maru Crew,” “Hello Kitty Splits What She Sees” and “A Pandapple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away”– are inspired in part by another pop culture touchstone.
“The idea behind that was almost like Punch Out!!, after you play the game, the frame after the round of them being beat, I kind of wanted it to be like that,” he explained.
There are also three resin sculptures in the installation, each one holding a bar of soap made by Peekaboo Monster and his friends from Level Naturals. The hot pink resin gore dripping off one Hello Kitty statue actually glows in the dark.
“It's the biggest sculpture I've done so far, so it was interesting to do one, let alone three of them,” said Peekaboo Monster.
As for the soap, they're available for sale at the exhibition, separate from the art pieces as well.