My upcycling project thankfully came pretty naturally to me. I’ve always had an affinity for Japanese culture/aesthetics, so coming up with a way to materialize the “Kawaii” aesthetic was an endeavor I’ve already been working on. I recently picked up the hobby of drawing digitally after being laid off from my previous engineering job, to help fill the time I found myself with. Here is a picture of Kirby I drew yawning, with an alternative color scheme that is very recognizable if you’ve played any of the Smash title Nintendo games:
I really like this aesthetic and style of drawing that is abundant throughout most all works of manga and anime, and I particularly enjoy watching people’s emotional reaction to pieces. It’s usually pretty hard to not say “aww” when you look at art like this:
*Taken from artist “Zack” on Amino https://aminoapps.com/c/pokemon/page/blog/pick-a-cute-pokemon/aeh0_unQbKD2z7gQ6KMz2oMpga3Xxx
Is there really anyone who wouldn’t say he’s adorable?! That visceral, instant connection with cute things is something I think everyone can appreciate, even if it’s not something you directly resonate with, i.e. you don’t have to be a Pokémon fan to think Pikachu is super cute. I have a deep appreciation for art like this, as I grew up playing Pokémon like at least a few of you did too.
I think it’s very interesting to consider this aesthetic from a technical standpoint – many pieces that match the “Kawaii” aesthetic are actually very simple. There are few lines and relatively simple shading present. Someone like Van Gogh can exercise his skill acquired over a lifetime on “The Starry Night,” and yet there are those who would give a greater emotional reaction to the former! So my ideal is to capitalize on this sort of “cheap” appeal from cute things, to generate something that’ll garner a technically disproportionate amount of praise.
Since this is my first semester here at Boulder, after taking a tour of the ITLL, I was super excited to get use out of the laser cutters here. It enables an overlap of my hobby, aesthetic, and engineering, so it is the perfect answer. I’ll be creating a 3D cardboard sculpture of Kirby, by generating a CAD file that can then be used to generate cross-sectional profiles to cut and stack to recreate him. That’s a mouthful, so here’s a visual representation of the idea:
*Taken from Epiloglaser: https://www.epiloglaser.com/resources/sample-club/trex-head-3d-model.htm
With the help of CAD and the laser cutter, I’ll be able to upcycle cardboard into something “Kawaii,” while also brushing up my SolidWorks skills, and picking up how to use the laser cutter proficiently along the way. I also get to implement some artistic flair by choosing what pose Kirby will be striking, and it’ll be easy to work on given my pre-existing interest in this realm. I am very excited to start actualizing this project, and look forward to any comments sharing alternative ideas or critiques!