Main Project Aesthetics: Minimalist, Rustic, or Childhood

I currently have 3 related, yet different ideas all with different aesthetics, and I need help deciding which one to do. The one thing they all have in common is the fact that they are kinetic sculptures that use a crank to create up/down motion (automata). 

Basic Automata [1]

Idea 1) Minimalist wall automata

Idea 1 Sketch

The minimalist art movement was first developed in New York City in the 1960s. It was characterized by “large, simplified, usually geometric forms on an overall flat surface; precise, razor-sharp contours; and broad areas of bright, unmodulated colour that have” [2]. A classic example of a minimalist painter is Frank Stella.

Frank Stella [3]

However, I want to focus more on the minimalist aesthetic that exists in today’s current culture. The minimalism that exists today is “mainly achieved through the use of functional furniture and interior objects, geometric shapes and a combination of usually not more than two basic colors” [4]. Popular minimalist art that exists today includes abstracted images of people and nature that rely solely on lines and occasionally color. 

Minimalist Flower Art [5]

In my case, I am taking inspiration from this minimalist brass kinetic hanging sculpture for the design elements/decoration of my piece. I can make the hanging geometric pieces out of some kind of metal and make the base and crank of the automata structure out of clear acrylic plastic. 

Minimalist Kinetic Hanging Sculpture [6]

Idea 2) Rustic hanging automata

Idea 2 Sketch

The rustic aesthetic is basically the combination of the vintage (charmingly old) and natural (materials and imagery from nature) aesthetics. While minimalism can often come across as cold and sterile, the rustic aesthetic is particularly cozy (and incorporates a surprising amount of mason jars).

Rustic Aesthetic [7]

Like my first idea, the aesthetic really plays into the decoration aspect of my automata, using natural themes like flowers or snow instead of geometric pieces. I can then hang them using twine instead of wire, and make the base and crank out of wood. I was particularly inspired by this aesthetic by the artist Rebecca Law.

Rebecca Law Hanging Flower Installation [8]

Idea 3) Childhood xylophone automata sculpture

Idea 3 Sketch

Unlike my first two ideas which have very different, yet defined aesthetics, my third idea does not. This is because this automata plays a different role. Instead of acting as art, this automata plays music. I can convey a number of different aesthetics through the kind of marimba/xylophone I make or find, however, I am leaning towards a childhood/kid aesthetic. This aesthetic is not super well known or distinct but is mainly characterized by its bright colors and approachability. I was particularly drawn to this aesthetic for this idea because I want music to be approachable (which children’s items usually are). I also like the idea of relying on nostalgia.

Childhood Aesthetic Xylophone [9]

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Jamie Frankel
    April 15, 2020 9:48 pm

    I love both directions. If you go for flowers I would love to see it look like flowers in a field almost swaying in the wind. That always has such a calming feel to it. If you go for music do you think you would do one row as the mallets and another as the xylophone? I cant wait to see/hear how this turns out.

  • Fiona, I like this idea of the automata. I really like the minimalist version that you have depicted in the minimalist flower. I think this could look really cool and would be fun to make. I am curious to see what you come up with.


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