Sculpture: Smash

Everything is energy. We feel good when we have it, we feel low when we lack it. Marharishi Mahesh Yogi softly spoke, “It is our experience that the whole value of life is less when we are stressed or tired”.


When we are young there seems to be a fascination with exploding energy, we gravitate toward action films and loud music, fireworks and smashing bottles. As we get older, we see energy in different, more subtle tones. Like the relationship between old man and his aging dog, or the sweet tempered music of a Bach Cello suite. And if you don’t yet… it’s coming.


In this project I explored the youthful unrestrained idea of energy, as well as using this as a springboard to explore the relationship between two dimensional graphic design and three dimensional structures to discover how objects can function as carriers of meaning.


Ahead is the production from conception to finalisation, the process, the ideation, the iteration, and final conclusion.

Initially brainstorming ideas with quick five-second sketches over the course of one – two hours, we could end up getting to some interesting associations with the seed word. Themes began emerging.

Experimenting with three dimensional structures to understand how this medium interacts with the environment around it and what can be done with photography for an online audience, first experimenting with folded paper ideas and then moving onto a more robust structures out of cardboard.

Looking at the various ideas I could start to feel a direction I was leaning in and could start creating a brief of my own to work to based on the original.


For myself, the brief connected me to memories of playful youth, summer breaks and finding glass bottles or bricks with my cousins and causing havoc in abandoned public buildings. It wasn’t so much violently destructive as it was an explosive display of humour.

I thought this would be an interesting thing to explore within this project. I researched some artists evoking or working with similar notions of youth, fun, danger, or spontaneity.

  1. Roy Lichtenstein – Blam! (1962)
  2. Roy Lichtenstein – Explosion (1965-6)
  3. Ellsworth Kelly – Diptych: Green Blue (2015)
  4. Ellsworth Kelly – Blue Black Red (2015)
  5. Mike Kelley – Deodorized Central Mass With Satellites (1991-9)
  6. Jack Kirby – New Gods (1984)

Articulating Meaning

Using Blender as a tool to digitally prototype – just to get a feel for the three dimensionality as well possibly answering any structural questions about the final.

One of the ideas was to rotate the elements created in Illustrator and make a de-constructable/constructable structure out of sliding wood joints.

A Tactile Response of Play

Graduating from paper to cardboard the evolution of my thinking of material was fairly linear. I thought about foam board for cost and ease of use, wood for strength and weight, and plastic for colour and its bright toy-like appearance.


I decided on wood for its proustian quality and concluded I would use spray paint to colour. Plywood had the thickness I would need and evoked the tactile response of play.

Carriers of Meaning

Working through this brief got me to think about subjective meaning through the lens of the individual and how to communicate this with a never before explored medium of physical structures.


It proved a challenge, a challenge to move from the safety of the two dimensional world of pencil to paper, of cursor to software and think about how to either transpose initial two dimensional ideas into real-world structures or simply think zero to one with a three dimensional mindset.


It was fun. Once I had the idea to realise, and an idea with such a personal warm glow of nostalgia, it was enjoyable to chase this idea and articulate its meaning.


Extending from it’s original seed word of ‘smash’ and blossoming into something else entirely, the final piece works as a personal symbol of energy and youthful spontaneity, innocence and naivity, the starting point and the heart of dependency and creativity – shadowing something we inevitably trade for the responsibility and independence of age.

“We are every age that we have ever been”

— Madeleine L’Engle


“The only paradise is paradise lost”

— Marcel Proust