UTC Graduate “Bottles Emotions” For Innovative Art Project

Monday, June 30, 2014
“Bottled Emotions,” a conceptual art project by UTC alumna Taylor Kinser
“Bottled Emotions,” a conceptual art project by UTC alumna Taylor Kinser
- photo by Taylor Kinser

Fill in the blank: Love is ______. Did the word “blind” come to mind? What about “patient?” Or “war?” For recent UTC graduate Taylor Kinser, love is glitter. And marshmallows. With a little pink paint, sequins, and soap suds too. Kinser’s conceptual art project, “Bottled Emotions,” explores the idea of creating and packaging an intangible product—our emotions.

Ms. Kinser explores the concept of what is means to be “emotionally available” in modern society.

“Emotions seem so readily available. They never run out. But then I thought about how people are always so emotionally drained. We deal with so many emotions everyday and it’s amplified when big events happen—deaths, weddings, break-ups, births, holidays, injuries, etc. What does it even mean to be emotionally available anymore?” she said.

Ms. Kinser’s project also critiques our modern consumer culture.

“While there would certainly be no need to purchase emotions—they’re a natural act of being human—our consumer culture tells that buying something will help us work through an emotional time in our lives. This project is related to the idea of ‘drinking your way through’ a situation. It’s an observation on the consumption of emotional availability,” she said.

In addition to love, Ms. Kinser crafted concoctions for several other common emotions, including fear, anger, confusion, and excitement. She used a variety of unique ingredients to get the color for each emotion.

“Most of the ingredients were chosen by color. Fear, for instance, in my mind was black. I used India ink and shards of stained glass to evoke the sense of fear. Excitement was blue detergent, pink paint, and liquid from a glow stick. Anger has a thick oozing red paint that lingers like anger would,” she said.

In addition to creating the liquid concoction for each emotion, Ms. Kinser designed the packaging—plastic bottles with both a classic and modern look.

“The bottles themselves were intended to have an old apothecary look with a modern twist. I researched alcohol branding as well as medicinal branding for the look and feel of the bottles. I used vinyl for the typography and wanted to keep them very simple. It was more about the contents in the bottles than the packaging,” she said.

Ms. Kinser also created an accompanying tonic guide, called “Victory’s Tonic Guide,” a play on the idea of “small victories” and coping with emotions.

“The tonic guide continued the conceptual work by giving recipes of how much of each emotion you need to have to get through big events. The guide meant to be both comical and serious since no one can put a quantity on how much of one emotion a person will need to get through something. I chose to focus on events surrounding Thanksgiving and Christmas, since those seem to be the happiest and most stressful times of the year,” she said.

So, what emotions make up “Black Friday”—the busiest shopping day of the holiday season? Excitement, envy, curiosity, and fear. Eating grandma’s fruitcake has a simpler recipe—fear and curiosity.

Ms. Kinser, who graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in May 2014, credits her professors and fellow students in her senior studio design course for helping her perfect the project.

“I definitely received several critiques from both my peers and my teacher, Aggie Toppins. As a class, they helped me dive into a deeper meaning with the project. Critiques are a huge part of the curriculum in the art department. One of the most valued skills that we learn in all disciplines, from painting to photography, is how to think critically and conceptually. I have learned why this is so important as a designer. It’s not enough to be good at using the tools needed to create a design. It is so valuable to be able to think critically and abstractedly in order to solve a problem and create good designs,” she said.

Aggie Toppins, UTC assistant professor of Graphic Design, calls Ms. Kinser a hard-working student who displayed an enthusiasm for design.

“Taylor’s project is interesting because the bottles themselves are fun to view and interact with, but there is also a conceptual richness behind the work,” Toppins said. “‘Bottled Emotions’ uses the space of commercial packaging to comment on the need for emotional availability in a world dominated by consumer desire. At the same time, the bottles seduce you to pick them up and handle them. I’ve heard people say, ‘I want those.’ To that end, Taylor created something which uses desire to critique desire. It’s very clever.”


Accompanying tonic guide designed by Taylor Kinser
Accompanying tonic guide designed by Taylor Kinser
- Photo2 by Taylor Kinser

East Hamilton To Host Assembly Honoring Teachers Who Saved Student's Life

East Hamilton Middle/High School will host an assembly this Wednesday at 9 a.m. to honor three teachers who rose to the occasion in a life-saving emergency.  Hamilton County Emergency Services will also participate by demonstrating life-saving techniques to the entire student body of the Middle School. Student Joel Ervin was cooling down after participating in a basketball ... (click for more)

Graves Installed As 7th GPS Head

"My name is Autumn Joy Adkins Graves, and I am the seventh head of Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and I proudly proclaim – I will lead like a girl!"  With those words at the conclusion of her installation as GPS’s Head of School, the audience of friends, family, faculty, trustees, parents, alumnae, and students rose to their feet and offered their heartfelt ... (click for more)

Greg Beck Asking County Commission Chairmanship; Others Seeking Post Behind The Scenes

Long time County Commissioner Greg Beck is seeking the chairmanship of the Hamilton County Commission, he said. Several other commissioners are working behind the scenes to try to get the top commission post. The job opened up after the unexpected defeat of Commission Chairman Fred Skillern in the August primary election. Larry Henry, who has held the chairmanship several ... (click for more)

Helen Burns Sharp Asks Recovery Of Legal Fees In Successful Black Creek TIF Lawsuit

Helen Burns Sharp, citizen activist who sued to try to stop a $9 million Black Creek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and won, is seeking to have her legal expenses paid by the city and the developers. Ms. Sharp said in a court filing that her legal bills to attorney John Konvalinka are $74,427 thus far. Chancellor Frank Brown ruled in favor of Ms. Sharp, saying the Sunshine ... (click for more)

Decimating The Chattanooga Public Library

Corinne Hill claims that the library is just undergoing a normal weeding process for eliminating books.  She has bragged that she's responsible for the elimination of over 100,000 books - with more to go. "Normal" weeding is not rampant throwing away.  Yes, books go to the Friends for their sale - where they get $2 for a $75 book and thousands wind up being recycled ... (click for more)

The Many Lessons I Learned From Helen McDonald Exum

Helen McDonald Exum was my friend and mentor. As I think of her passing I can only imagine the celebration that is happening in heaven as the news of her arrival is being told. I am sure that there is a party that not only has she organized but that there is not a detail that has been left to chance. I am sure that it is the grandest of events, for you see, she has been planing ... (click for more)