Upcycling Aesthetic – Contemporary Sculpture

Contemporary sculpture is a broad category of art that falls under both modern sculpture and contemporary art. Contemporary art simply describes art made after the second half of the 20th century. I could not find an exact description for the aesthetic I had in mind. It is usually described as “mixed media” and “found object”, both referring to the material being the defining feature of the art style. Mixed media describes sculptures made of more than one material. Found object is an art style is art created from materials which are not commonly considered art. This is similar to mixed media art, with an emphasis on solely using material that may be considered “junk”. This differs from the Assemblage art style in that the sculptures can try to mimic reality instead of being abstract and anti-aesthetic. This is the intent with my selection of this aesthetic, where I would like to use discarded material to create a contemporary sculpture.

I have chosen this aesthetic as a way to utilize scrap material without necessarily conforming to a realism approach. I do not want my sculpture to exactly mimic life or appear as realistic as possible. Instead, I want to utilize the material (aluminum can scrap, varying wire materials, and solder) to elevate the subject. The idea is to use “trash” to create commentary on the decay of nature. This is best done through contemporary art with elements of miming life but with a deliberate departure from realism.

The aesthetic of this sculpture was inspired by the work of Barbara Franc, who creates mixed media sculptures of animals from recycled materials. An example of their work is found below:

Barbara Franc. Bullfinch. [1]


Franc, Barbara. Bullfinch. https://barbarafranc.co.uk/

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • I love the idea of creating a contemporary art sculpture from scrap material! This is a concept I have wanted to explore myself, so I am eager to see the results of your work. I’ve found that a commonality between found object sculptures is the inclusion of a “seed” piece, which serves as the central component to which other parts are then added. There is a wide variety in seed pieces, ranging from nuts and bolts, cans and bottles, and even old radios. I am curious, do you have a seed piece in mind for your sculpture?

    • Thank you for the comment. I do not have a seed piece in mind for my sculpture. The primary material will be aluminum cans, which gives uniformity to the sculpture. As my sculpture is conforming to the form of a bird, I believe a central seed piece will not be needed since I am not working with an abstract form or concept. If I were making a formless sculpture not based on anything grounded in reality I would definitely include a main piece to given the sculpture structure and have something to draw the eye of the viewer.


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