Tacky or Art?

More and more lately I’ve been noticing a widespread perception that snow globes are kitsch and a little bit tacky.

I guess it’s funny that I’ve only recently started to notice this – after all, I started making my own snow globes because I couldn’t find any pieces that struck me as truly beautiful, unique or artistic.


The Hurricane Katrina Snow Globe

So when I saw this Hurricane Katrina Snow Globe that’s been in the news the last day or two, it brought up all of these thoughts even more.

Artist Brad Maltby designed and outsourced production of these snow globes back in 2009 and has been selling them since then.

The design features a house covered with a blue FEMA tarp and debris floating around in the water, which comes half way up the globe.

The front of the roof has a red cross painted on it – these were painted on homes after the tragedy to denote that there may be bodies remaining inside.

With understandable emotions surrounding the subject matter, and the 10th anniversary of the tragedy approaching, a social media storm has erupted and Brad is certainly facing some harsh criticism.

My reaction is that I have to question the motivation behind creating such an obviously provocative design in the first place.


The Hurricane Katrina Snow Globe inner setting

I wonder if at any stage he asked himself, how do I feel about this particular design at an instinctive level?

Is this a piece of inspiration for those who lost everything?

I do know that for many collectors, it’s all about representing places and times that mean something to them.

And also it’s true that many collectors adore the older style kitschy snow domes. I even heard one collector recently say “I love them tacky – the tackier the better!”

For me, this design is not in alignment with what I want to put out there, however I’m curious as to your opinion – what do you think of it?

Let me know in the comments below.


1 Response

  1. As with any medium, there are truly beautiful works, and works of questionable taste. Snow globes are no exception: They run the gamut from cheap and tacky, to emotionally engaging and inspiring.
    We all hope for the latter.

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