This Valentine’s Day, HUF is pleased to partner with Los Angeles-based artist Meegan Barnes on a collaborative edition of her renowned Booty Vase ceramic sculptures.
Meegan sat down to discuss how she turned her appreciation for Brazilian butts into works of art.
Tell me a little bit about your background and inspo as artist. And what is your connection to HUF?
I grew up in the Bay Area and went to art school in SF I the late 90s. I lived in a floor through of an old Victorian house with a bunch of roommates including Chris “Dune” Pastras. So there were always skateboarders over and that’s when I first became friends with Keith.
After art school I moved to NYC to be a designer and illustrator at PAPER and VIBE Magazines. I then Co-Founded and was Creative Director of Femme Arsenal, which started as a cosmetics brand (think a hip-hop Urban Decay) and turned into a streetwear/lifestyle brand. Everything was kinda badass tomboy style which I designed and did most of the graphics for.
I got burned out on the whole fashion scene and knew it wasn’t what I truly wanted to do so we sold the company and I went to Brazil for 4 months to surf and paint and recharge. I was super inspired by the body positivity there, I mean butts of all shapes and sizes were flaunted and appreciated. After Brazil, I moved back to SF and that’s when I started making ceramic butts. Also, I lived around the corner from the HUF store when it was on Hayes so Keith and I would hang sometimes after work and talk about streetwear and the good old days.
What was the first booty you ever sculpted?
The first thing I ever made out of clay was a butt. I went big out the gate but had no idea what I was doing so the bikini bottom cracked off.
And how was that first piece received? Serious, jokingly?
People loved it. Everyone cracked up when they saw it. That’s how I knew I was on to something.
Not just a “big ass”. Do you have a favorite adjective to describe a nice booty? Round, plump, buoyant, bodacious, juicy, thiccc?
I’ve always been partial to “Bandunkadunk”. It’s pretty fun to say.
What are three things that make a great butt for you?
Haha! I seriously love all butts. They’re like faces, everyone has its own expression and personality.
Butts vs boobs – thoughts on the debate?
Boobs are cool too but they had their moment. It’s all about that booty now.
First serious attention you received from your booty work?
I had been in a bunch of group shows but when New Image Gallery gave me a solo show two summers ago that was nice.
Is each butt unique or do you have a general mold you like stick to for your work?
I use a mold for the small ones, like the HUF Booty’s. But the bigger ones that are in galleries are all hand built and totally unique.
Talking large format — tell me about your most sizeable butt installation to date.
Just made a five-foot tall chrome booty. It’s not installed yet but when it is you’ll be the first to know (hint hint)
How many butts in a given week or month do you move?
On a good month I’m moving like 60/70 butts. But it really varies and obviously is way better around the holidays.
How do you see the progression of your work evolving… Where do you see it in 5, 10, 20 years?
I recently started painting again and am so happy. I majored in illustration so it feels like I’m going back to my roots. Ideally it evolves into me doing fine art full time and have a team to handle the booty vase business.
What advice would you have for any aspiring sculptors, artists or anyone looking to dive deeper into the art medium of choice?
There’s a great quote by Ira Glass… “All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit…” The quote continues but my advice is: Don’t Quit.
Limited to just 25 pieces, the HUF x Meegan Barnes Booty Vase is now available exclusively at HUF stores and online shop.
Interview by Jenn Felins // Photos by Razy Faouri