I began making work with cake decorating tools to respond to my complicated relationship with the values and aesthetics of the Midwest. As a region, it passively inherits the discarded cultural trends of the rest of the country, striving towards nostalgia and mythologizing what is familiar. I imitate this cultural machine by embellishing iconic items— cigarettes, racing jackets, football gear, Big Gulp cups, guns large and small— generating an alternative, sissified Midwestern mythology. I learned the art form of cake decorating from skilled women/femmes in Indiana and Illinois bakeries. It’s work that is associatively effeminate in multifaceted ways: nourishing, underpaid, undervalued, beautiful, made to be consumed. This labor is translated into sculptures made with cake tools and techniques, which mollify and queer these Midwestern emblems, reimagining the region’s culture in an image it resists. These works are piped with acrylic and silicone so that like the region itself, they withstand time with little change.

© 2020 bun stout