What happens when you give a handful of local artists giant reindeers and tell them to do whatever they want with them? You end up with something like The Reindeer Project, a charity focused art effort held by Westfield Century City that has turned Santa’s steeds into big multi-colored beauties. The ‘deers are current on display throughout the mall and are a welcome visual treat to breakup all the activity of kiosks and sometimes silly live performance malls are known for.
Adopting a sort of scavenger hunt mentality fused with a still happening, the artsy reindeers are placed around the mall’s layout without any introduction. There’s one by the mall’s entrance and one near an escalator, another is at the entry of the food court while another greets H&M shoppers—and they all kind of jump out at you, from behind a crowd of people or from around the corner. Rarely are two seen in one glance, making for finding them to be quite exciting. Because of the nature of these (fake) deers’ environment, they are prone to constant prodding and touching and posing since shoppers often don’t understand the unsaid two-feet-back rule with art. Moreover, the mall likely cannot afford security for all of these pieces. We are sure that personnel who do catch people touching the pieces will speak up about it.
The artists involved with the project are quite fantastic too—and the resulting deers are an incredibly mixed bag. Sage Vaughn gave a butterflied out deer that dripped in neon paints and a collage like whimsy. Karen Kimmel‘s deer was painted a neon sky blue with cutesy pom-pom decoration and both understated and elaborate tribal-like tattoos placed on her hide. Undefeated‘s James Bond (and Karen’s husband) sectioned his deer off by its choice cuts, suggesting a machismo hunting sensibility. Mister Cartoon‘s brought his tattooed sensibility to his creation (which had a delightfully creepy grimace to it) while Gregory Siff featured his calling card of black and white yet brightly colored visual vernacular. There is a reindeer for every type of art viewer and every type of shopper—and it is really difficult to find every single one. Like Pokémon, you will want to catch them all. The only issue is that you don’t know if you have or haven’t: we *thought* we photographed them all but, judging from the listing of deer, we missed quite a few.
The Reindeer Project is a wonderful fusion of art, retail, and charity with a Los Angeles slant to them. Speaking of charity, all the deer are being auctioned off to benefit A Place Called Home and Free Arts for Abused Children, both local charities who are doing fantastic things for the LA youth. If you are in Century City with some free time or looking to go shopping for the holidays, you should go to this particular Westfield because of the pretty deer they currently have on sale. Please note that if you like a deer enough and have room in your home or office building, some are still being auctioned off. Bids start at five thousand dollars. The deer are on view through December 31.