Opposite Aesthetic: Postmodern Skate/Graffiti Shoe Rack vs Modern/Minimalist Shoe Rack

My upcycling project is a Shoe rack made out of used skateboard decks with a “Skatepark Graffiti” aesthetic. Fundamentally, I think this aesthetic is both postmodern and maximalist. The graffiti and skateboard elements of the shoe rack are loud and unnecessary, and have no actual function besides looking visually interesting. Graffiti and skateboards are also tied up with counterculture, which is not a feature of the modern design movement, which argues that the form is completely separate from any political or ideological views held by the creator. In contrast, postmodernism argues that the context and life experience of the creator is reflected in their work. In this way, a modern minimalist aesthetic is the opposite of my upcycling project’s aesthetic.

I would also like to make a quick progress update on my project. I have completed assembly of the wooden frame, which must now be spray painted. After that, I only need to attach the skateboards to the frame and the shoe rack will be complete.

A shoe rack with an “opposite aesthetic” to this one would be made of glass and maybe stainless steel or some sort of single colored wood. It would be sleek and elegant with no unnecessary ornamentation or details. This might resemble the classic midcentury modern minimalist furniture that we have discussed in class. A quick google search yielded these images.

I am glad that I picked the aesthetic that I did for my project. I think that the loud, colorful aesthetic associated with the 80s and 90s was a backlash to the clean, elegant, and boring objects created in previous decades when modernism was in style. I think that it is important to give our environments character and personality, which is partially why postmodernism exists in the first place.

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Hello Alex. I really enjoy your project. I find it to be a very useful and personalized product. I also agree that the minimalist movement has had an affect on the character of products. It is cool to see you putting your own style on a typically boring, mass-produced product. However I am wondering, do you think the minimalist aesthetic is helpful for the mass production of goods?

    • I think that the minimalist aesthetic is very closely associated with mass produced goods, which almost devalues the aesthetic itself. However, I guess it is nice that certain objects can be beautiful in a minimalist way and still be cheap and accessible to the average person for this reason.

  • I like your idea for your project, I have some old skateboard decks lying around that I have always wanted to turn into some kind of project. I also agree that a lot of modern objects have lost some character due to being reduced to a minimalist design. Do you think that minimalism/modernism has its place for some objects? Or do you exclusively prefer the postmodern style?

    • Thanks! I appreciate minimalism but I think it is overused. Some objects can be minimalist but I think there needs to be a good balance between function and form.


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