14 March 2023

That time I wrapped an object

After my first full semester as an art major, I knew I wanted to try sculpture, but the mere 3D Design entrance class was an advanced class, so it wasn't until I was about three semesters into my major that I took my first sculpture class.

And the semester's first project was "Wrapped Object"

The objective was to wrap a stick until a shape formed, and we each had to draw a material out of a hat to determine what the wrapped object would be wrapped in, and I drew "SPONGES"

This is what I made ...

Wrapped Object c. 2006
chopstick wrapped in twine, sponge rollers, pins and wax
current location unknown
last known location: with professor Robbie Barber at Baylor University

The thing about this assignment is that I truly loved it, and I still love it, but it is not in my possession. The sculptor-artist-professor of the sculpture program (i was enrolled as a BFA-Sculpture at the end of my sophomore through junior years of undergrad and took business classes to fill out my credits, but I did not graduate from Baylor University), Robbie Barber, liked my object so much that he asked me if he could keep it for further classes, etc. I didn't care at the time, but I recently looked him up and saw that he's still at Baylor, so I might have to contact him to get it, cause I've been hankering to see it again. 

Anyway, this project was a nightmare. It was my first "sculpture," and I had no idea what I was doing, and I had no idea what I would do. So, as usual, I put one foot in front of the other and went to Walmart to see what sorta "sponges" I could obtain.

Randomly, I walked through the hair stuffs aisle and saw the sponge rollers and thought that I could make something of them. There was only one pack left, so I bought it and thought, "Okay?"

We were provided twine with which to form our shape, and so, I wrapped a chopstick with the twine until I came to the general shape of my object. Then, I pulled out some sewing pins (i always have sewing supplies on me, cause my grandma taught me how to sew at a very young age) and started wrapping my object in the sponge rollers. 

It wasn't until I had finished the third layer that I realized that I didn't have enough sponges, and I panicked. I think I even cried for about an hour at my own stupidity. But the project was due the next day, so I had to figure out a way to finish it. 

I cannot remember how I acquired the candle, but I had a candle or wax and I almost burnt our (my sophomore-year roommate's and my) apartment down. I found a can of soup in the cupboard and emptied it into the sink, washed it out and set it on a burner. I dumped some wax into it and then as it melted, poured it over the remaining part of the uncovered twine until the remaining sponge-less twine was covered in wax. 

Then I took a look at her, and she looked like a little piggy. So I cut the two remaining sponge rollers in half and then cut those halves diagonally to give my piggy a bonnet. 

I put her into a little box and carefully transported it into class the next day. I was genuinely thrilled by the outcome, and I couldn't believe that I was able to accomplish something so great out of my own stupidity. 

When critique time came around during that first 3D Design class, my professor couldn't stop fondling it. By the end of that class, my professor had suggested I enter the BFA program in sculpture and off we went.

Until, of course, I had a nervous breakdown, stopped eating and quit school altogether for a year. LOL.

J/k, totally not LOL. It was sad and something about which I rarely talk because nobody talks about it, but the reality is that being an artist is psychologically tormenting. You are constantly being asked to look inside yourself, see who you are and present yourself to the world to be judged. It is a form a psychological torture if one does not want to be an artist.

And there is no psychological guidance while undertaking such a feat as an undergraduate learning how to be and thus become an artist. 

I see this as a huge gaping hole in the potential success of a future artist. How are we to deal with the psychological pressures of creation, ideation, judgments on our personhood, etc.? If our artistic elders do not instill in us a way to deal with what it means to make art, how are we, as young artists, supposed to figure it out when the alternative is suicide? 

Art, creation, the bringing forth into this world something that is so intensely personal is a feat that most do not attempt, because it is too hard, emotionally, intellectually, psychologically. To ask someone to show you who they are is to ask the impossible. And so, to be a person who is not only willing to find out who they are but also, are able to then show the world who they are is to be a person living the impossible.