Written By – Joseph Scaglione
You may know Warhol, but do you know BBJ? Pop-art became an international phenomenon after the decline of abstract expressionist. Pop-art reintroduced identifiable images to art, pulling from the world of pop-culture. Moving away from high-art themes of morality and mythology, pop-art celebrated commonalities in everyday life. Musings that all people share. Owing most of its momentum to commercial imagery, pop-art is one of the most recognizable art styles.
BBJ, or Barbie’s Basement Jewellery, is the brainchild of Toronto based indie design duo Ange and Robin, two entrepreneurs determined to craft unique accessories sharing their love of pop-culture and all things fringe. And if you’re into designing some of your own pop-art, the majority of BBJ’s items are customizable! They’ve collaborated with artists and small businesses including roller derby teams, Christian publishers, and swingers groups, in addition to CBC, AGO, YORK University, Pride Toronto, and Tim Burton’s exhibition at TIFF. They also have a side business as Trixie and Beever, designing installations and performances on their own, and in collaboration.
Browse through BBJ’s catalogue and you’ll stumble upon my personal favourite: Pop-art candles. Like those your Catholic Italian mother would light throughout the month of November to pay homage to the dead, but substitute pictures of saints for images of pop-cultural icons. Everyone from Charlie Chaplin to Freddie Mercury to Laura Palmer make the cut, and for $20 they’re an inexpensive collectible item. If you’re more into time-management than pyromania pop-clocks might be for you. BBJ offers square, easy to read hand clocks featuring images of your favourite retro new wave bands, whether you fancy Madonna or Kiss.
Outside of candles and clocks, BBJ offers rings, cufflinks, buckles, magnets, knobs, and keychains, and their catalogue is expanding. Ange and Robin teamed with Buddies In Bad Times Theatre, the longest running queer theatre in the world, to produce an exclusive merch collection. If you’re a pop culture aficionado, you’ll definitely find a product in BBJ’s collection, and if you want to be your own Warhol, BBJ will happily make your art into a graphic tee. Give them a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org