Artist: Chelsea Romeo Allen
Waitress Candle (lilac)
Paraffin, soy, and coconut wax, cotton wick and pigment
12" x 7" (approx.)
I had been cocktail waitressing at a comedy club in Manhattan for about 4 months when I noticed a hard, painful lump forming in the crook of my left wrist, my serving hand. The hand with which each night I hoisted trays of dirty martini’s, vodka-soda’s, Hennessy-Coke’s, for hours on end. The lump went away in April of 2020, a few weeks after COVID decimated the service industry. Restaurant labor is precarious and grinding. Oft romanticized, flattened, or dismissed, it is actually quite ugly, nuanced, and timeless. These pieces are a celebration of this work, of my co-workers - servers, barbacks, dishwashers, bussers, porters, bartenders, line cooks - of our hands, and the hours we spent together burning the candle at both ends.
Chelsea Romeo Allen is a second year MFA candidate in the Sculpture department at Cranbrook Academy of Art.