Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Adrian Finn - Progress

I am a third year Architecture student at AUB, and have been given the opportunity to promote the Museum of Design in Plastics. My project with MoDiP seeks to explore and revive the connection between plastic products and their source – the fossil. As a student of Architecture, I like to produce work that is more conceptual – something that gives the viewer a narrative or idea, and hopefully evokes emotion or thought. I want to juxtapose the ‘synthetic’ portrayal of plastics today against the aesthetics and properties of fossils.

My initial thought was to produce something quite straightforward that aggressively combines fossils and plastics – by making a fossil appear like a contemporary plastic object. After all, we are used to seeing fossils in their rock form, but less commonly do we see (for example) the ammonite that once inhabited the fossilised shell:


Large Ammonite Fossil

Artist’s Impression of an Ammonite
 To respond to this, I decided to use Photoshop to edit the artist’s drawing to give it the character of a generic plastic product, by smoothing out the lines and making it a bright pink. Without context or scenery however, the image is quite ineffective. This lead to working out how this plastic ammonite would actually exist as a product. Some of the ideas were:
  • A standard plastic ornament/model of an ammonite
  • An inflatable plastic product such as a balloon or a swimming pool toy
  • A 3D printed plastic model
  • A plastic squeezable plastic toy
  • A small collectible, or pocket-sized model, similar to the old ‘Crazybones’ toys
One of these was rendered in Photoshop as a collage, producing a very… interesting image: 

Pink Plastic Ammonite

Pink Balloon Ammonite
I also tried simulating a reversed version of the original idea – a modern day plastic object with the appearance of a fossil. The initial idea is much more engaging in my opinion, but thinking about both ideas has been helpful:

Watering can fossil on a beach

By complete chance, I discovered an exhibition by a local artist called Rachel Fooks, a ceramicist. Her work generally involves creating clay sculptures of invented fossil species that resemble real species. Her works are placed along the local coastline, giving them context and realism. I made a quick Photoshop experiment that played with the materiality of the sculpture, and through this considered a standalone sculptural plastic model for a final piece of the project.

Ammonoidea Unda Rachel Fooks

Ammonoidea Magnus Pink Plastic
Through this, I have decided to produce a 3D printed plastic model of an ammonite for the final piece of the project.

3D printed products are chiefly made of plastic today:

“There are many materials that are being explored for 3D Printing, however you will find that the two dominant plastics are ABS and PLA. Both ABS and PLA are known as thermoplastics; that is they become soft and moldable when heated and return to a solid when cooled.” (ProtoParadigm)

I felt that a 3D print of an ammonite would juxtapose the fossil and plastics very well. 3D printing, being one of the most recent developments in plastic technology, would be representing an incredibly old creature.

Also, another piece will be planned to be painted in acrylic paint. Acrylic paint is an acrylic polymer emulsion – a synthetic paint. This choice of media will represent another interesting way in which plastic influences art, in a product we don’t generally associate with plastic.

PrimaValue PLA Filament - 1.75mm - 1 kg
Daler Rowney Acrylic Paint Set

Though to produce the final piece, I will have to learn how to use 3d modelling programs, and how to 3D print!

Adrian Finn (Student Creative)

Adrian is a 3rd year BA (hons) Architecture student at the Arts University Bournemouth

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