Redefining the concept of the appraisal, bringing it out of the staid workplace and into the achingly cool world of the New York arts and fashion scene are The Bumbys. Armed simply with antique type-writers and biting wit (think a contemporary, marginally less scary version of Simon Cowell) the pair act as silent adjudicators of New York’s sartorial elite, assessing the appearance of anyone brave enough to stand before this mysterious jury.
Conceived in 2006, The Bumbys started life as just a single Bumby called ‘Gill’ who would sell his aesthetic appraisals of passers-by for two dollars outside the Bedford Avenue subway station – set in one of New York’s most creatively alternative neighbourhoods, Williamsburg. Inspired after getting ‘Bumbied’ herself in a Williamsburg gallery ‘Jill’ (yes, to add to the intrigue they both use the same name) then became part of the act and The Bumbys as we know them, were born.
Wielding their own brand of event entertainment, these Brooklyn based avant-garde performing artists are taking on the New York party scene (apparently DJ’s, bands and clowns are far too conventional for the ever evolving NYC creative elite) popping up everywhere from installtions in the Brooklyn Public Library to New York Fashion Week. The mysterious couple set up shop at the chosen venue, then from behind a makeshift desk, silently type out a ‘fair and honest appraisal of your appearance’- expect typed musings ranging from whimsical to bitingly honest. These virtuosos of observational art vow to remain incognito, with faces veiled in bandanas and eyes concealed behind sunglasses, deliberately making the experience more about those in front of the type writer than those behind it. Don’t worry, before you start to compose a defence against your sartorial choices, The Bumbys have stated they rarely veer below an eight on their 1-10 scale because nobody wants to read they look rubbish – where’s the fun in that?