CJ Hendry's 'The Trophy Room'
Levi's, lego, a nikon, raybans, Chanel masterpieces and your grandpa's old junk.... anything and everything you could think of for a left-of-centre Trophy series was chosen by Cj Hendry to be covered in a metallic coating and illustrated by her in the finest detail.
Born in Brisbane, Hendry is a two-time uni drop out who decided to focus on her passion for art after realising her current life was making her miserable. After selling a lot of her designer clothing and possessions, she saved enough money to live for 6 months solely pursuing her drawing talents. In that time, she caught the eye of an art dealer in Sydney, sold a drawing of a pair of RM Williams boots for $10,000 and quickly gained a cult following on her instagram. I can remember following her one day and passing around my phone in Art class, sharing the sudden success of a local artist who'd gone from fine-tip pen art hobbyist to full-blown game-changer over night.
In the same year, Cj produced a work of Kanye West's face on a giant dollar bill which Yeezy later bought for an undisclosed amount. That year alone, she has been said to have made one million dollars in profits. Her success has been pretty remarkable, with some critics going as far as to accuse her of placing monetary gain in front of artistic integrity. Either way, it's fair to say she's struck a pretty spot on balance between talent and strategic marketing. Her niche brand is very aesthetically pleasing, almost aspirational to many followers, but affordable for very few.
Cj's most recent series ' The Trophy Room ' just finished its month-long exhibition in NYC. I was very fortunate to be in the city for the opening weekend of the show, visiting with some friends who are also Brisbane locals. The two-story Soho gallery was in prime location, and there were beers on the house! The layout was quite aptly like a trophy room, and it was no surprise that all pieces had been crafted down to the very last scribble. We searched far and wide for a mistake, an ugly whiteout mark, something, anything to prove the women is from this planet. It was all unreal. Things were so unbelievably hyper-realistic, I think all of us were pretty mind-blown.
We admired Cj's craft as if no one had ever thought to use pen in tonal art before. It's certainly clear that the way Cj presents her line of work is to ensure it's perceived in that very way: unlike anything you've seen before. Still, I hadn't really observed up close anyone use pen so brilliantly, even if there were many others out there. It was all good fun to be apart of, especially as fellow kids from Brisbane. I felt oddly connected to home, even while the exhibition screamed Soho luxe. After seeing the Kanye bill several years ago on my tiny iPhone screen, it was a surreal thing to stand a few feet away from fifty-thousand dollar masterpieces.