We live in a world of labels. Where the things we consume are linked to who we are– our personality, our political views, our wealth. Yet we make assumptions based on the consumption habits of other people all the time, whether consciously or unconsciously done. We gather around us these symbols of status and wealth, often more important to our perception of ourselves than anyone else. Michigan artist Jaye Schlesinger captures in paint the tokens of consumption that are often prized as much as the products themselves.
In the past, I’ve been as guilty of this as anyone, hoarding bags from my favorite luxury stores, even carrying my lunch to work in one occasionally. There is nothing wrong with nice things, of course, and if we can afford luxuries, why not treat ourselves? But the danger comes when we begin to judge others on the basis of what they can’t afford. For me, traveling with Mr. F has been incredibly freeing for my own magpie tendencies. We can only carry so much with us and, as we move from place to place, we find that more often than not, the people we meet are much more interested in who we are than in the car we drive or the clothes we wear. It is teaching me a lesson in perception that I’m not sure I would have learned otherwise.