For their latest project, “Transformed Treasures”, the Sculpture 1B students have been looking at the works of Tara Donovan and Tom Friedman. Both artists use every day items, and a lot of them, to make their sculptural creations.

For one installation, Tara Donovan stacked hundreds plastic cups, developing an undulating landscape of translucent forms. With regards to her artistic process, Donovan explained that she chooses the material before she decides what can be done with it. She noted in an interview that she thinks “in terms of infinity, of [the materials] expanding.” Tom Friedman made a standing human form out of sugar cubes and created a work composed of interlocking tube socks. Friedman is seeking to push the envelope of what is art, what is reality, and in fact, what is comical and a miracle. Friedman is known for transforming mundane materials into meticulously crafted works of art.

With these artists as their inspiration, students began their newest project with a trip to SCRAP, a re-use center in SF’s Bayview. How do artists choose their materials? The rows and piles and boxes of tempting items at SCRAP can send an artist’s mind into a frenzy, so students were given the challenge of collecting a paper bag filled with lots and lots of one item, spending only $5 or less. One student chose masses of paper clips, while another student walked away with a bag filled with puzzle pieces. Back at the studio, students “meditated” on their bounty, sitting with it on the floor and mapping out ideas in their sketchbooks. They arranged and rearranged their piles of material, thinking about the potential and brainstorming about what these things will become. Some students have plans to create a “utilitarian” object, while other students have plans to make something that is beautiful and an interesting form. Stay tuned for the final works.

– Ascha Drake, Visual Arts Faculty

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