For my upcycling project, I want to take a look a visual idea that I find to be very captivating. It’s of a figure that stands upright or leaned forward, representing individual liberty and triumph. Something that can capture the strength and heroic nature of the human spirit. I also would like to work in three dimensions and create a statue or a sculpture for the first time.

Romanticism often has paintings that show this idea, from Wanderer above the Sea Fog by Casper David Friedrich to Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix, and often depicted themes of individualism and freedom. The visual image of these two paintings have always caught my attention due to the way the central figure in each seems to be in command of themselves and their surroundings, never unsure or backing down.

Another example of this idea can be seen in the ancient sculpture of Nike, the goddess of victory, called The Winged Victory of Samothrace. Although it is missing many components, including the arms and head, even the remains seem to exude a kind of triumphant energy and motion.

In more modern years, some examples of this can even be seen in the Disney film Pocahontas, where the character is shown standing proudly at the edge of a cliff. Standing there, her pose is poised for something more and looking to the distance.

Another modern day example can be seen in the art of Seth Vandable. He is one of my dad’s favorite artists (as well as one of mine) and I was actually able to meet him when I was much younger in Crested Butte at an art fair. He told me that the foundation is learning to draw, that (paraphrasing) “If you can draw, you can learn to do everything else.” I guess it’s time to see if he’s right. An example of his work can be seen in his sculpture Harvest Gold below.

 

This kind of pose and idea can even be seen in some of my own work in the past, like this work in progress of mine here:

Sources:

Wanderer above the Sea Fog by Casper David Friedrich

Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix

The Winged Victory of Samothrace photo by By Lyokoï88 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39152764

Pocahontas by Disney

Harvest Gold by Seth Vandable

Work in progress by Daedalus Muse

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Daedalus Muse
    Gary Marshall
    February 7, 2021 2:51 am

    I like the way you describe this aesthetic, and also your work in progress. Do you think this aesthetic fits a certain group of people? For example, the rich and powerful versus a working-class farmer? This point of view is interesting to consider because it can describe how people identify with the aesthetic. How do you think this factor has affected the evolution of the aesthetic and given today’s culture, how will it be affected in the future?

    Reply
    • Hi Gary, you gave me a lot to think about. I would have to say that the aesthetic I’ve chosen doesn’t appeal so much to any class or group of people as it does to the individual. Romanticism in particular had themes of self-reliance and individual liberty, and the theme I’m attempting to achieve is similar in this way. Personally, I believe that many issues that we see today come from people identifying themselves with whatever group they happen to side with rather than thinking for themselves, and I’m not sure whether this type of artwork will have much of an impact in the future—even if I would like it to.

      Reply
  • Hey Daedalus,

    I like this aesthetic choice a lot because its not particularly obvious, but is definitely a prevalent theme in media. The examples you gave are very good too, and I imagine you’ll probably go into an artistic direction. Do you know the medium? I feel upcycling lends nicely to triumph a your bringing something deemed useless and making it into something with purpose. I feel you could probably play with this idea if it speaks to you but in any case I’m curious to see what you do.

    Reply
    • Hi Joshua, thanks for reading the post. I’m going to try making the piece out of parts laying around my apartment, like tinfoil, pipe-cleaners, and plastic bags as the outer layer. I definitely have thought a little bit about the idea of triumph being incorporated into the upcycling theme, and I agree that it fits well. It’s a theme that has a lot of potential, so thanks for the suggestion.

      Reply

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