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Diem Chau's Crayon Carvings (now in a tv spot, too!)

above: Diem Chau's adorable self portrait

Diem Chau plays with crayons. But not by coloring outside the lines, she carves them into the likenesses of people and animals. And they are certainly intriguing, if not impressive. So intriguing in fact, that finally, someone has utilized them as a metaphor in a tv commercial (more on that at the end of the post).

Take a look:

She has ceated commissions in the likeness of people from photos:

Some older photos of her crayon carvings:

Artist's Statement:

I consider myself an artist whose medium is stories, especially those that are primarily passed on orally. Coming from a nomadic childhood, what few possessions my family had were necessities. The things of greatest value to us were stories contributed by friends and family. Embedded in these stories are connections to the past, our culture and an occasional escape from reality.

My grandmother told some of the best and most unique tales. She had a wonderful way of spicing up the traditional fable. According to her, Cinderella was kept from the Prince’s ball by having to sort a jumble of Mung beans, Red beans and Soybeans. Snow White went on many dates with Prince Charming before they got married, their first date being a picnic in the park with sandwiches and sliced melons. These small deviations are what fascinate me with oral traditions. Ordinary events injected into fantasy worlds make them more believable but, at the same time, it makes them extraordinary. Stories enable us to live a more vivid life.

I’ve spent countless hours gathering memories and pieces of different cultures by listening to incredible stories. I waited with childlike anticipation and delight on each storyteller’s words. I believe it’s my time to be the storyteller and to evoke the same delight and anticipation from my audience. Each story is a journey that gives us greater understanding of our past and our culture. Each story is a thread that connects us to each other, the storyteller holding one end and the audience the other. - Diem Chau

all photos courtesy of Diem Chau.

Diem Chau has since created many other wonderful art pieces and projects (be sure to see her 'embroidered ceramics'). You can see the work of Diem Chau here.

UPDATE (MAY, 2009): I figured an ad agency would find a way to use Diem's crayon carvings and sure enough, Hal Riney & Publicis has come out with a new U.S. Cellular commercial that uses time lapse photography and Diem's crayon carvings. Once available to view on flickr, ad freak and youtube, the spot has since been removed.

UPDATE (March 16, 2010):

See her 12 Chinese Zodiacs carved into crayons here

UPDATE (June 10, 2010):

See her Nike World Cup Players carved into crayons here.

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