Wired: a visual essay on consumption

Materials used: Plaster and GI wire
Date completed: March 20, 2014

What do we consume? Does it nourish us?

(back view)

#sculpture #plaster #wire #consumption #technology

Instructions for the plate:

PLATE #3: Balance, Emphasis & Economy, Proportion

This plate aims to illustrate the application of the principles of design through three dimensional art making, specifically, the principles of balance, emphasis & economy, and proportion. It is a venue to combine materials and techniques previously introduced. This is the next to last plate that summarizes the techniques and materials you have gone through in three dimensional art making.

Choose only two of materials as it has been used during the academic year:

  • wood (regularly toothpick)
  • paper (regularly cut illustration/master board)
  • GI wire
  • plaster of Paris


  • At least two objects in the composition that would demonstrate the following: emphasis and economy, and proportion
  • The composition must demonstrate one of the four types of balance.
  • Key question:  what subject and composition would enable me to demonstrate the three principles best?
  • Guide words: opposites, paradox
  • Tips: Look at ordinary objects anew

Process documentation:
This was the first time that I intentionally thought of putting 3D elements together to compose a visual essay.
I started with two everyday objects — the spoon and fork, chosen for their familiarity and because they were universal enough to “economize” or simplify using wire.

Below is look at my creative process at every step:

Step#1: Incubating an idea for a wire-plaster sculpture on paradox. #food #eating #spoon #fork #wire

Step#2: Adding the object of our consumption.
I just saw the documentary ‘The Mystery of Picasso.’ Got wild over the idea of the visual arts communicating things that escape the language of music, words. What is it that goes on in the mind of a painter that cannot be expressed in any other way, except through a painting? It’s the impulse that I’m carrying with me now…working on this piece.

I want to ask, boldly and without hesitation, “What do YOU consume, friend? Does it nourish?”

I played around with different objects I already had on hand: plaster balls, plaster tub…rearranging and looking for a eureka moment.

Step#3: Deciding on the basic lay out.
I wanted to incorporate a human aspect to the piece, so took out an old cast I made to see if it would work. By this time it was becoming clear to me that I wanted the piece to be about consuming information and technology.

The blue face cast was nice, but it was beyond the limits of this plate (we couldn’t introduce another material, i.e. paint). Good thing I still had my face mold from last year, so I played with it using wires and plaster.

Step#4: Last step was to finalize the back part — what will the fork be diving into?

I found myself checking my phone even while mixing plaster, so I put that in the piece: the battery symbol while it is plugged and charging. We consume technology like the plague, but the nourishing part is lost on us. We have become slaves to it. We are the ones being consumed.

Finished piece:

Textual documentation and lessons learned:

  • Planning ahead is step one in 3D art-making, but most of the work (and play) comes in touching the material.  Letting it find its place in your own thought process. Seeing what can be done with both your idea and the material to come up with a new work that stands on its own.