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Favorite Things: Lansing artist ERI VK and her mannequin coffee table


I was a manager at American Apparel, which is now gone. When the store was closing, we got all these cool mannequins. These were up along the walls on the shelves. They used to model men’s underwear like briefs. I guess I could dress briefs on them now. I haven’t thought about that before.

We could basically take anything we wanted. I kept thinking about what to do with these torsos and all these extra acrylic shelves.

Something clicked. I took them and arranged a coffee table out of the scraps. I really like ‘70s dystopian movies like “A Clockwork Orange” with the mannequin milk bar scene. This reminds me of that.

If you came into my apartment, this is the first thing you will see along with a lot of zany stuff.

Most people come in and they say “Wow! That’s a butt.” I thought it was at least a fun conversation piece and people love it when they come over to see it.

Most days there are a lot of books on this usually with coffee.

It is hard to find cool or fun furniture that is not boring. Of all the stuff I have, this is something that isn’t a reproduction. It is its own thing.

I move my apartment around a lot because I am an artist and am always having fun with the space. Sometimes it is a coffee table. Sometimes I stack it on top of another thing to have fun with it. I also use this shelf at art shows to exhibit my stuff.

I would eventually like to get into set design or prop styling like this. The thing I like most about movies like “A Clockwork Orange” is they have created a world. I like the colors and the mood of these films.

I definitely use surrealism and abstractions in my work to comment on the way we communicate. Dystopian films, the social aspect of how the communities are built, are some of the most interesting parts of the film.

Decor is an ultimate way to experiment, and I wish people would experiment more with it.

I don’t think I’m going to stop being a child anytime soon. I will always want to keep making furniture out of mannequins and the unused things I find around.

(This interview was edited and condensed by Dennis Burck. If you have a recommendation for “Favorite Things,” please email dennis@lansingcitypulse.com.)


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