When visiting New York for the summer from his former home in London, then-design-student Chris Godfrey wanted some souvenirs to return with. Finding only the cheapest, most generic New York souvenirs–plastic Lady Libertys, keychains, pencils, a pewter spoon, an iPhone case–he decided there must be something more interesting he could make. And so began “Souvenir,” a project which turns all of that mass-produced junk into something special.
Godfrey bought dozens of these souvenirs and began altering them. “Most of the souvenirs were dismantled. This included un-screwing, grating, and good old smashing. Some smaller objects, such as key-rings, earrings, pins, and the pressed penny, went in complete,” he writes in an email.
Godfrey says his aim was to take these anonymous, cheap, junky souvenirs–all made in China, to boot–and make something unique, a one-off piece that would capture the same feeling of adventure that Godfrey found when he visited New York.
Why bother altering them? “I dismantled the objects to ensure this was a complete one-off,” he writes. “This way, nearly every single thing in the Statue is its own unique size and shape.”
Yep, in the Statue. He reconstituted it out of more than 30 Lady Liberty mementoes. Godfrey bought a large model of the Statue of Liberty, which he calls his “favorite attraction,” and made a silicone mold of it, in one complete piece. He then poured in his smaller, modified objects, along with clear resin, trapping the mutilated pieces within the clear outer shell of Lady Liberty. “I had no control of how they went in or what position they took up,” he writes. “It was a case of pouring it all in and hoping for the best.”
And, of course, the whole thing was made not in China, and not in London, but right here in New York City.