Post 4 – Opposite Upcycle Aesthetic – minimalist modern

My upcycle project revolves around the works of  Dean Morrisey, who takes his maximalist style depicting vehicles, such as flying ships, flying red rockets, trains. As well as the depiction of crafters of creators in there space of work such as a toy shop or Santa Claus’s Kovatunturi. Morrisey often depicts these illustrations with a goal of intricate detailing and placing a world within and around something that is created by a person. Such as the illustration below, depicting a toyshop with extensive quality and being in such quantity that the viewer can be left alone to pay significant time and attention to the detail of Morrisey’s illustrations. Which for my project, will be creating a maximalist styled toy train that could fit within the illustration of Morrisey’s work. The opposite of such depiction would be minimalist, where intricacies and details are thrown out of the door for the sake of displaying the surface depiction of whatever that toy may be attempting to depict. Another factor to consider, where my upcycle project would be trying to recreate the Victorian era toy-making, this opposite perspective would have to take the time-period of today, recreating the element of modern apparatuses. 


The Magic Door, Dean Morrisey


Such a modern appliance, shown to the right, could be the world famous at home coffee-maker. Where I take from the standpoint of choosing a creation that has had a significant impact on the historical heading of humanity. The Coffee-maker could be looked at as something, with negligent impact. Sure a person can stay up a little bit longer or focus a little bit better, but like all things with the modernization of the human condition, the effects can be seen as negligent compared to the feats of the modern man’s predecessors. This coffee-maker is the perfect depiction as opposite of the maximalist victorian-era toy upcycle project. Where the maximalist depiction would use colors, carvings, metals and complete expression of the human complexities. This abomination depicts complete and utter nothingness to its beholder, a child being conditioned at an early age to expect the reliance and dependencies to keep up and enjoy the fruits of living. Rather than, being awed and encouraged to give meaning and projection to the wholesomeness of a maximalist toy would. Where a child can see every detail and characteristic and connect a story within the toy itself or relation to themselves. 

The last man’s final endeavor

Even the materials used themselves, show the opposite standpoint, show the obvious high quality wood where the original project depiction dictates that wooden material that would have otherwise been discarded and wasted to be used. The wooden material found for the upcycle project was found to be material that has been broken / split off of a greater material or cut away from to create smaller wooden materials from itself. The coffee maker also seems to be utilizing a high end coating of paint, where instead of bright and popping colors, this toy chooses to use a beige color that offers no demand for attention for its beholder.





Morrissey, Dean, The Magic Door, 2000,

Ibwaae Kids, Coffee Maker, 2024,


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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Hey Benjamin! I hadn’t come across your posts yet so it was interesting to learn about Dean Morrisey for the first time. Based on your description and the provided image, it reminds me a little bit of the iSpy books with the toys and crowded but organized scenes. But with a few more rustic and creator-focused vibes. Thanks for sharing and I am interested to see your final project!

  • Jason Allshouse
    February 18, 2024 9:22 pm

    Hi Benjamin, great work and interesting post! I’ve never heard of the minimalist modern aesthetic before and I think that you explained it very well and I agree that it is in fact the opposite of your chosen aesthetic. I’m looking forward to seeing how your project turns out. Only suggestion I have is to maybe include another photo of the minimalist modern aesthetic, but overall great job!


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