Upcycle Project Aesthetic


The history of my upcycle project began in early 2019, when I happened across some fossils near a hiking trail. They appeared to be bones from an elk or deer, probably left by hunters due to the location and since the skull was missing. Immediately I decided that these fossils would become a future art project, and I carefully gathered the pieces I could find, some of which still contained pieces of flesh and other organic material on them.

Aesthetic Influences

The modern gothic aesthetic has always been of interest to me, due to my interests in symmetric and rotationally symmetric geometry. So it was already on my mind when coming into this class. I’m also fascinated by other forms of art and architecture which heavily incorporate geometric designs, such as Arabic architecture. 

The upcycle project seemed to be the perfect opportunity to start making an art piece using the bones I collected years ago. I decided to start with the bones in mind and then choose an aesthetic that would lend itself to their use. 

Characteristics of Modern Gothic Design

After researching more about both classical and modern gothic design and architecture for class, I was excited to see the use of bones and creatures as a common theme. “Many Gothic works contain scenes, events and objects such as burials, flickering candles, evil potions, and other frightful concepts.” (1) 

Another source describes that the gothic style includes “…spooky motifs such as skulls, bones, tombstones, shrouds, devils.” (2) From here I decided that this would be the perfect aesthetic for my upcycle project. So in addition to being rooted in geometric design elements, Gothic architecture is also characterized by the use of elements that are scientific and occult in nature. 

The use of light and shadow is another reason why I have chosen this aesthetic for my project. In my experimentation with the physical components so far, I have found inspiration by holding the bones up to a light source in various positions. The shapes created by the shadows of the bones across the room are both a little frightening and beautifully ornate.

Pinecones and Bones (3)

Gothic Interior Design (4)

Skull Lamp (5)


With my upcycle project, I hope to create an art piece which is recognizable as gothic inspired. I intend to use the bones to create a mysterious feeling by incorporating light and shadows that are bounced off of the art piece, thereby creating the sensation that the piece is bigger than its physical space. Incorporating ornate geometric designs that are both historic and modern should also help distinguish the aesthetic of this project.


  1. https://www.invaluable.com/blog/elements-of-gothic-literature/
  2. https://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/3295/2/ART_Williams_2009a.pdf
  3. https://unsplash.com/photos/vNP4sSl8kiY
  4. https://www.forbesmasters.com/work
  5. https://ihorror.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/goth-interior-via-piston-cars-6.jpg 
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2 Comments. Leave new

  • I like this aesthetic a lot, can take a lot of different approaches for your project. Would you go for the more spooky/horror approach or for the darker theme approach?

  • I struggle to think of a more impactful upcycling material than the shadows cast by bones.
    What are the differences between “Modern Gothic” and “Gothic?”


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