Art never looked so tasty

Brooke Lintag

Popcorn Chicken is bad for you, but when taken in super size amounts, it proves to be good for the heart. Figuratively speaking, that is.

On Sept. 12, art major Bonn Liang premiered his humorous Popcorn Chicken sculpture, along with 30 artists, on San Diego’s Embarcadero as commissioned through San Diego’s 6th Annual Urban Trees Project.

Standing 10 feet high, his sculpture is a replica of a traditional bag of popcorn adorned with bold red and white stripes. It is complete with the proverbial logo on the side stating “Popcorn Chicken” with 100 life-like handcrafted chickens inside, which is Liang’s personal spin on the fast food item.

After having slaved away on the piece through the majority of the summer, Liang breathed a sigh of relief when it was finally assembled on the Harbor.

“[It was] like giving birth, an immaculate conception” he said.

The assembly process was the most time consuming aspect for Liang, as the artist already had a design in mind. The work was to embody his life thus far, a parallel he found in a circus theme.

“My life’s like a circus, because I have these crazy ups and downs,” Liang said. “And I feel like I’m the sideshow, like the bearded lady or the guy that swallows swords.”

While fabricating the sculpture, Liang had only one major goal in mind, to be humorous, which he explained to be one of the main reasons why he opted for live chicken replicas as opposed to depicting the colonel’s counterpart. This is also the inspiration behind the engineering that allows his sculpture to spin freely with the wind.

“He loves art that puts smiles on people’s faces,” Ed Jaffon, Liang’s roommate, who supported and helped the artist with the engineering, said. “He’s very interesting in children liking it!”

On the day of the unveiling a number of tourists and locals, many with children, walk along the Embarcadero, many of whom can’t seem to help but stop, stare and smile at the very comical piece.

“This is fun isn’t it?” a fellow artist from the Urban Tree Project batch said. “Very fun.”

“Oh Mommy! It’s popcorn chicken,” A young girl exclaimed.

Liang is left speechless by the number of positive responses he has received on his piece, even though he still regrets the time constraint that prohibited him from adding music. Both children and adults alike find the humor in his sculpture to be contagious, smiling and laughing as they walk by.

“The most rewarding part is when people come up to me and tell me how much they like it,” Liang said. “It’s better than money. It enables me to want to create more.”

In fact, the artist is currently working on a Project Runway inspired submission for the 2010 Urban Trees Project.

“Everyday I wake up and I just want to pinch myself” Liang said.

As a result of his involvement in the Urban Trees Project, Liang has already had two commissions, one of which is for the Fallbrook Art Center.