Waiting Candle, Chelsea Romeo Allen, Sculpture ’22

The STUDIO Art Sale is now closed. Please contact CAAstudio@cranbrook.edu with any questions.

    7 x 12 inches
    Soy, coconut, and beeswax, cotton wick

    I had been cocktail waitressing at a comedy club in Manhattan for about 4 months when I noticed a hard, painful lump forming in the crook of my left wrist, my serving hand. The hand with which each night I hoisted trays of dirty martini?s, vodka-soda?s, Hennessy-Coke?s, for hours on end. The lump went away in April of 2020, a few weeks after COVID decimated the service industry. Restaurant labor is precarious and grinding. Oft romanticized, flattened, or dismissed, it is actually quite ugly, nuanced, and timeless. These pieces are a celebration of this work, of my co-workers – servers, barbacks, dishwashers, bussers, porters, bartenders, line cooks – of our hands, and the hours we spent together burning the candle at both ends.

    I make work with the material and aesthetic byproducts of working class life in order to unravel narratives which perpetuate economic falsIties and meritocratic myths. I utilize video, performance, sculpture, archival research, and photography. My family, especially my father, feature heavily in my work. I pull from autobiographical experiences to ask questions and reveal unflattering truths about financial hardship and its implications on romance, family, body, and desire. Tenderness, personality, and exertion are both material and antidote.

    Find Chelsea on Vimeo

    IG: bluecollarbombshell