Michael St. Amand: Slave to Vanity
Michael St Amand
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Are you a SLAVE TO VANITY?  Do you chain yourself to your mirror every morning and put your face on?  Will you ever be beautiful enough, young enough, perfect enough? Addicted to beauty? The questions are as timeless as the universe itself, the quest for youth and the value instilled on what we think and what we think others perceive as beautiful and youthful. It invades and envelopes our deepest thoughts. Vanity is derived mostly from the perception of what in the 21st century as “IT”. The self inflicted bondage of capturing youth, the wanton desire for beauty at any cost. Our psyche of Vanity.

I came upon my concept of "Slave To Vanity" while contemplating on what to do with a piece of furniture for the "Have A Seat" benefit for the Naples Museum of Art. The artists were all given chairs and I was given a small side table. It sat in the studio for months. Finally, one night inspiration struck 一 the entire concept of a "Slave To Vanity". Since I lived in Naples, Florida and was bombarded with plastic surgeon ads, billboards, and people having Botox parties, it was the perfect fit. The next morning, I began constructing a vanity from the side table I was given. I added an attached seat and began to paint. Then, I shopped for mirrors, fabric, chains and accoutrements. MY concept is that everyone is chained to vanity, and in fact, all slaves to vanity, so why not chain people to it? Imagine being chained to a vanity with mirrors staring at you for 10 minutes or hours, citing every imperfection. The “Slave To Vanity” was first shown in the Naples Museum of Art (2009) to promote the “Have A Seat” exhibition and garnered some interesting comments.

After the auction, I came home with the slave to vanity, and let it sit in the studio. After reflecting on  the vanity and talking to many friends and artists, I decided I would build an interactive art exhibition around it. I called Jim Griffith who is the director of the Sydney and Berne Davis Art Center and explained my concept and set a date for the exhibition 01-01-10. Since the Art Center is 7,000 square feet, I invited a few artist friends to create work based on my concept of being a “Slave To Vanity”. I wanted an extraordinary exhibition.
I built two new chairs from scratch and created 15 new paintings for the show, shot photographs and a video. Built a website as well as designed the branding and marketing. Each of the collaborating artists we allowed to create two new pieces from my concept for the show. The photographer Ed Chappell and I shot over 1400 photos, of those 900 we looped to play as a twenty foot tall slide show of the models chained to the furniture looking into the mirrors and various other poses.
The chairs and the vanity were used by the audience at the exhibition.


Michael St. Amand

For more information about SLAVE TO VANITY or to schedule an interview with the artist, contact Michael St. Amand at www.michaelstamand.com.

Michael St. Amand's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including the Georgian National Museum,Tbilisi History Museum, Signagi Museum, Signagi, Georgia, Sorbonne, Paris, Musee' D' Art Moderne, Bordeaux, France, Beijing China, Berlin, Kassel,Germany, Salzberg, Austria, New York City, Miami, Dallas, New Zealand and throughout Florida.
Michael St Amand's work can be found in museum, corporate and private collections worldwide.
He has been listed in Art in America Magazine's Who's Who in American Art.


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