This is the third series of works I created for my final collection, and this is one that I struggled with quite a bit. When I was deciding what cosmetic products I wanted to incorporate into my work I began by looking at what tests are actually run on animals during cosmetics testing. A lot of the tests that are done involve the animal’s eyes and testing what happens when the chemicals come in contact with them. Since I already had planned to incorporate mascara into my work I thought eyeshadows would be the next step.
However, at the very beginning, when I was first developing the ideas I wanted to touch upon through my independent study, these single shadows were going to be designed to be a commentary on the use of child labor that exists further up the cosmetics supply chain than animal testing does. As the semesters end starting coming closer, however, I had to modify this idea and worked to make it match up with the rest of the works and touch upon animal cruelty.
During a day of research, I ended up finding the actual Chinese law that talks about the ways in which they use animals to test products to be sold in mainland China. As soon as I found this document, I knew I wanted to work to incorporate into one of my works. At this point, the other two works that I had created utilized a lot of different design elements and were modeled after very artistic packages. For the eyeshadow packages, I wanted to try and go in a different direction and make a series of works that was rather simplistic, as that is what a lot of cosmetic packages tend to look like, especially within the luxury market.
For this work, the product name is represented by GB 7919-87, which is the title of the animal testing law from China. Wrapping around the box is an excerpt from this law, which corresponds to the animal that is featured at the front. This image is taken from the law as well and demonstrates where products are tested during one specific test. The Chinese text that wraps around the box details what the purpose of each of the four locations is. Unfortunately, I do not speak Chinese or have access to anyone who does, so I am unable to translate what it says exactly. One side of the box features an
One side of the box features instructions, which start by claiming “Irritation or allergic reaction may occur with some animals,” which is what happens during the clinical tests when these animals are exposed to products. I found this wording from a skincare package and thought it would be really powerful to add to a series of works that are meant to serve as a commentary on animal testing. The rest of the instruction section details what people should do with the product that was on the inside of the box.
Originally, when these single eyeshadow boxes were going to touch upon child slavery I was going to include pots of dirt and grass on the inside to demonstrate what these children are exposed to. However, I adapted this idea and placed inside the boxes a series of petri dishes filled with a handful of different spices. The immediate connotation that everyone has when they see a petri dish is science, and most likely labs and testing procedures. Placing spices on the inside of the dishes acts as a juxtaposition between the elements of science and nature, with the idea that you don’t need to expose everything to labs and science, and that often time natural substances such as spices or items found in nature are sufficient, and would thus eliminate the need for animal testing completely.
I really liked the way these turned out, however, if I could go back and work on these some more I would like to revise the design elements utilized because I’m not quite sure if people grasped that these were meant to be eyeshadows. I could have tried to incorporate something into the exhibition itself, like offering demos to do people’s makeup with the spices or something. With that being said, however, I have really happy with how this work turned out, and especially happy that I was able to find a use for the actual Chinese law that requires animal testing.