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The Small Things in Life: Desiree Palmen’s Camouflage Works September 18, 2010

Filed under: Inspirations — chicapod @ 11:06 pm

In the natural world, the chameleon blends in perfectly with its background.

In the urban jungle, Desiree Palmen decided to attempt the same visual deception.

And as these pictures show, the effect is amazing.

Miss Palmen, a 44-year-old Dutch artist, uses a method that requires a huge amount of effort and attention to detail.

She makes cotton suits and paints the camouflage on by hand, painstakingly matching it to the chosen background. Either she or a model then poses in the suit in the chosen place.

The scenes are photographed and filmed and then put on display.

It takes hours for her to paint the suits. First she takes photographs of the scene then, back in the studio, she meticulously transfers the detail on to the cotton suit with acrylic paints.

The match of colour, texture, light and hue is extraordinarily accurate but the artist remains modest.

“It’s never perfect,” she said. “But when it works that’s enough for me. I like the fact people can see it’s a real person in a suit and not a fake digital image.”

She regularly displays her works on the streets of Jerusalem, Rotterdam and Berlin.

She got the idea for her unusual art from the increasing use of “Big Brother” surveillance.

She said: “I’d like people to consider what it means to let the government control our daily lives.

“When we are controlled we hand over our individual responsibilities to the state. I wanted to make a suit for the non-criminal citizen whose house is being watched 24 hours by street surveillance cameras. I’m also responding to a wish to disappear.”

To me, Desiree Palmen’s works are very thought provoking. I really enjoy looking through her works. There is a sense of sentimental reflection of the world through her photos. The subject matter seems to disappear and blend in completely into their surroundings, causing  the audience overlook the exixtence of a person present in the photographs upon first sight. One has to stare at it for some time before noticing the invisible people hidden within our sight. 

There are many small things in life which we do not pay attention to, often thinking that it is  not important or pointless to think too much of. However, there is often some deeper meaning for us to intepret once we notice and ponder over the small details.


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