AK-47 by Eric Esmail Parnes

“Gold is a coveted and treasured commodity.” Iranian-American artist, Eric Esmail Parnes, tells us of his fascination with gold as evidenced by his metallically-enhanced collection, Icons.

“Unlike, salt, it has maintained its value through the ages, and still exudes a sense of power and luxury. These objects like many historical, venerated pieces have been adorned, and therefore transformed into iconic items.”

How does he get that gold-plated look?

“I use resin casts that have been painted and then gold-leafed with 24k.” He says. “Then, the objects are encased in Plexiglas.”

Parnes, whose pieces are generally on exhibit somewhere, most recently showcased his golden work at ART 10 in Amsterdam  as well as Villa del Arte galleries in Spain.

“Objects like the AK-47 are seemingly mundane on their own, but have become iconifed as a result of their significance in current historical context. I am always attracted to the inanimate, and the hidden power of expression that resides.” Adds Parnes.

“The precious, adorned item is the hallmark of a museum. And we appreciate the work based on its relegated context of being unique, and mysterious.  Take a visit to a museum with an ancient arts section, and you will know exactly what I mean.”

Parnes’ work ranges in price from 50$ for a bullet, 400$ for a Grenade, 500$ for a handgun, and 2000$ for the AK-47– which you will have to inquire about for availability–and is created in his studio in New York City.

“My latest endeavor is taking my shopping series, and creating real scale models of them.  I am enchanted by toys and models. I remember my parents asking when I was 11 if I was going to move beyond this phase in life, to that I responded: “Why would I want to do that?”…But there is power in creating objects and scenarios, as well as taking difficult subject matter(s), as well as benign, and giving it new context once its been turned into a toy.”

He’s got more objects that he’s working on as well…from the “intense, such as a RPG, to a juicebox”, so be sure and check out Parnes’ blog for updates and more.