In the instant before the unlucky numbers of a losing lottery ticket are revealed one can go to the greatest lengths of their imagination hoping for their deepest desires to become real: dream homes, expensive cars, extravagant vacations, and then… nothing. The dreams burst and the ticket is tossed to the ground. It is a small tragedy, and a uniquely human experience.
For many, the journey with their losing lottery ticket ends there. For the artist duo Ghost of a Dream, a ground littered with discarded lottery scratch-offs was the beginning of something amazing.
Lauren Was and Adam Eckstrom are both established artists in their own right. They completed their MFAs from the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design in 2004 and 2005 respectively. Was’ concentration was in sculpture while Eckstrom studied painting. In 2007 Was and Eckstrom were out on a walk together with their dog Banana when they came across these discarded bits of colorful holographic paper. To the artists, these small papers symbolized dreams unfulfilled. The duo was inspired, and Ghost of a Dream was born on that day in Brooklyn, NY. “We started to collect tons and tons and talk about what people dream about when they play the lottery. Then we did some serious research to find out what people buy when they do win the lottery. Through our research we found that most people, after they win the lottery, the first thing they do is buy a car.” The opportunity to make a large scale project came along shortly thereafter and Ghost of a Dream decided to create a full scale Hummer H3. The Hummer was the first and inspiring piece of a “Dream” trilogy inspired by the top three things people buy when they win the lottery: the “Dream Car,” the “Dream Vacation” and the “Dream Home “ –all created with discarded lottery scratch-offs.
The artists specifically matched the price of the total lottery tickets used to the actual dollar value of each item (i.e. $39,000 of lottery tickets for the Hummer “Dream Car”). It was an example of the money spent on dreams and what could’ve been bought had that money been saved and spent on the actual items.
Their “Dream Home” was created out of $70,000 worth of discarded scratch-off lottery tickets along with foam, wood, and steel. “Dream Home” evokes the mood of a traditional dining room, as Eckstrom put it “the dining room is the quintessential room, the room you entertain in”. The artists included framed portraits hung on the walls, a chandelier in the center, an area rug, and a framed “antique” mirror on papered walls. There is also an ornate china closet that displays detailed plates. An “antique” clock sits atop this intricate piece next to a vase with budding flowers on top, as well as a statuesque candle holder. Each piece of furniture looks so real that upon closer inspection it is hard to believe that you are in fact looking at lottery tickets. The vivacious colors inherent to the scratch-off games give Dream Home a mesmerizing mosaic quality and one finds it hard to stop staring at the details.
Ghost of A Dream most recently participated in an eight-week artist in residence program at Vierter Stock Projektraum in Berlin. Throughout May and June 2010 the artists created a show titled “One In a Million.” The concept for “One in a Million” was realized in kaleidoscope style collages studying masculine and feminine dreams. Lottery tickets and romance novels were used to create the collages and the intense patterns symbolize the wash of adrenaline when you are gambling or reading romance novels. The pieces are meant to evoke bursts of passion, getting caught up in the throes of romance and risky behavior.
Another piece featured in “One In A Million” was a larger text sculpture placed on the floor with a mirror in the front. It says “What I Am”.
Ghost of a Dream has shown internationally in numerous exhibitions and they have already won accolades for their work including co-winning the prestigious AXA Insurance “Young Masters Art Prize”. Other exhibitions include a VOLTANY 2010 Solo Project in NYC with Cynthia Corbett Gallery, Christoffer Egelunch Gallery in Copenhagen, and an upcoming solo project at the Galerie Paris-Beijing, in Beijing China, for which they have shipped six hundred pounds of lottery tickets overseas.