ART1010 – Found Object Art Project
Consumerism Takes Flight
Brandy Santa Cruz
October 1st, 2014
(click images to open gallery)
When I first read the instructions for this assignment, I was terrified! I’ve never considered myself a creative person, definitely not “artsy”! I talked about this project with a few people that actually do arts as a hobby or a profession; they make it sound so easy! (it’s so not!) I love to understand how things work and what makes them tick. I enjoy understanding anything and everything from end to end. However, when it comes to art, I look like a deer in headlights… sometimes it just confuses me. I panicked for about 7 weeks about this project before actually building it. During that time, I was saving items that I thought would be easy to re-use or easy to construct something out of. I found myself saving mostly recyclable items, toilet paper and paper towel cobs. In all honesty, I had no idea what to do with all of it, but I figured it would come in handy somehow. I was getting ready to throw away the POM juice bottle when I thought about making a bird. (It looked much better in my mind!)
Saving all of my items really opened up my eyes to how much I (we) consume; I didn’t even use all of the items I had saved. I had plastic jugs, water bottles, juice bottles, empty boxes, soda cartons, soda cans, etc. It was actually an eye opening experience to see it all piling up, waiting for me to use it again, instead of throw it away. I had already decided I wanted to make a bird, but seeing the pile of empty containers and bottles is why I decided to name my project “Consumerism takes Flight.” The entire sculpture came from everyday items that are thrown away by everyone (including myself) and are rarely recycled.
Early on in my discussions with others, someone mentioned that I should buy a hot glue gun, because they are easy to use and good for beginners like me. The glue gun was the only thing I used to be the sculpture together, which wasn’t as easy as I had expected. Because I was using mostly plastic on plastic the glue didn’t set as well as I had planned. This was the biggest challenge for me because I didn’t know what else I could use to put the sculpture together (I am definitely not an art major!) Then I realized I could use the glue to loosely hold the pieces on, then “trace” around the edges to cement them into place. After a few burns from the glue, I had a system going. Keeping in mind I don’t have any art tools… I used an old serrated knife to cut the POM bottle in half and scissors to cut up the cardboard boxes and cartons.
I thought the POM bottle was too small to use as the body by itself, that’s why I decided to use the Arrowhead water bottle as the main part of the body. The pieces of the POM bottle fit nicely over the top of the water bottle and the other half slipped right into the bottom. The bird legs are paper towel cobs and glued to the bottom of the water bottle. I first glued them together at the top, so they would have a little separation toward the bottom. The beak is made of two tops from hand soap dispensers; I tried to cut off the small round plastic pieces so they would lie on top of each other, but I couldn’t get them to separate from the top. His (Consumerism’s) eyes are made from small water bottle lids. I decided to glue them upside down because they looked more like a bird’s eye than the smooth tops. The multiple circles made me thing of a bird’s eyes and eyelids, they always have a few rings around their eyes. Unfortunately, I glued them too close together and too close to the top, so the eyes look more “buggish” than is does “birdish.” (I tried to move them, but they started to tear holes in the plastic). For the wings and tail feathers, I drew a wing shaped pattern on the back of Coca-Cola package and cut along my outline. The tail feathers are three separate pieces glued in layers to add texture and depth. The nest/stand is from a Starbucks k-cup pack, trimmed with unrolled and glued together toilet paper cobs to build the nest wall. For the inside of the nest, I cut up my remaining scraps of cardboard. At first, I started to cut them all into perfect lines then I stopped to think about a bird’s nest. Some twigs are broken and bent, others are perfectly straight, so I just cut the remaining scraps without a pattern or outline.
Overall, the most complicated part of the assignment was stretching my creative side because it’s a side of me that is rarely used. It turned out to be fun and interesting to see how my “garbage” could turn into art!
Thinking back to the instructions for this assignment the two questions that stand out the most are:
What kind of story will you tell with them?
When others see your piece, will it make them laugh or cry?
I feel that my piece tells two main stories. One story is that anyone can be creative if they set their mind to it. Even though I don’t see myself as artsy or creative, I was able to stretch my imagination, take an idea I had in mind, and push myself to sculpt something out of nothing. The other story is how everyday items or things we see as garbage can be put to use for something else, even something fun. This project helped me realize how much I (we) consume and how to re-use items that can be recycled or repurposed. You don’t really think about it as you’re going through the day-to-day motions.
The answer other question… I am sure people will laugh and maybe cry from laughter!
I posted the pictures and a brief description of the assignment on my Facebook tonight, one of my friends said I’m only a few steps away from ultra-postmodern art! (haha) I also asked who would like to start the bidding at one thousand. 🙂 We will see!
My Visit to the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (UMOCA) – 09/2014
Found Object Art Project (Full Gallery)
All photographs are from my personal collection, unless otherwise noted by citation and/or external link.