A few years ago I showed you one of my art class projects in high school in this post. I never actually shared my graduation art project on this blog and I still really want to.
And so, I will share the story of how I made an empty shoebox slightly more interesting…
I started of with gathering pictures and ideas and had a big brainstorm session to come up with concepts for my final project, which would be a big chunk of my final grade for Art History. I decided I wanted to do something with a shoebox. I came across one of the early cinematic experiences in a museum, a diorama, and was immediately inspired by it. By placing different elements of a scene behind each other, it created this amazing three-dimensional effect.
At first it was my plan to create a scene like this myself, perhaps by looking through a window in the shoebox. But then I got a better idea: to make a box where you could look into at both sides and see something completely different.
I wanted to create a big contrast between the two sides, so it had to be a difference of day and night. So I literally gave one side a dark, starry sky and the other a blue sky. Through the peeping hole of one side you could see the other (and the other way around).
For the ‘day’ side I wanted to make it a happy scene with natural elements. I added mountains and waves, and later I would add a road, people and houses. Looking through the eye-shaped peephole you could then see a beautiful scene.
The peephole from the other side would later be ‘camouflaged’ by making it into a sun. Both sides got a little flap which the viewer could open up, but when closed it would be either a sun, or on the ‘night’ side, a moon.
Then here was an element I really struggled with. A lot. I had this idea to put a quote in the middle of the scene, hanging to the ceiling of the box. It took me such a long time to get it all glued to the right spot and occasionally they fell back down again. It says ‘I see, I see’ in the day scene and ‘What you don’t see…’ in the night scene. This was done to exaggerate that nothing (or no-one) is what it seems…
I also wanted to add holes in the ceiling so the scene wouldn’t be too dark. I decided to cut and fold some pieces upward and downward so the inside would be somewhat more… visible.
Here I added the rest of the scene. I actually took a long time until I placed everything inside, since it all had to be sturdy as well as visible from both sides. I added younger and older people so they would symbolize youth and old age. On these pictures you can also see the sun very clearly.
The ‘day’ side was done! And unfortunately I do not have a good picture of the result on the other side… But on the pictures above you can see the elements I used for the night scene: Eucalyptus branches were placed at the back of the houses, so they were not visible from the ‘day’ side. I added glue strings to them to make it look like spider webs. A girl is sitting on one of them and looking at the moon. The moon is placed on the peephole on the other side. Then I added the clouds and octopus and whale on the other side of the waves. So in the night scene you were looking into a night sky. If you look closely at the day scene, you can see the mast of a boat. On the night sky you can still see the mast of the boat, but it is attached to a whale (nothing is what it seems!).
These final pictures are from the day we had to present everything on a table. We had to lay out our final work, but also everything we did up until the finished product. So I added sketches and designs I made. Some made it into the final work and some didn’t. I also had a paper where I explained what this work symbolized and how to use it. The theme I had chosen was called ‘on the road’. I literally added a road in the scene, but it also had a different meaning to me: I interpreted it as in on the road of life. My first assignment for art at my high school had also been making a peep box, so this was a good example of how much I’d grown on this road and how my high school “road” had now come to an end.
Have you ever done a big art project? I’d love to know!