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Open Works: Proposal

This project will revolve around the idea of human life and time. My (original) idea is to have a wax model of a simplified, human figure. The model will have a wick running through it and serve as a candle, which will be lit at the start of the presentation.

The origin of this idea started with the concept of having a physical piece that could start and end; something that would be possible to “miss”. Like you could leave the room, come back, and have missed my work of art. (this of course, relates to the idea of human life.) This concept brought me to the idea of having a piece that I would set on fire; it would burn up and it would be gone. Obviously this would be too dangerous to perform indoors. And, also, almost unforgiving to the audience. This wouldn’t give anyone a large time span to actually witness the event take place. These revelations pushed me towards the candle idea.

My intended portrayal of human life, is that it has a “beginning” and “end”, and its state is ever-changing throughout. This is reinforced by the candle idea, since: it is lit, begins to melt, and eventually finishes when the wick has burned to its end. If I do end up using wax, it would also have a quality of rebirth since the wax can be melted down and recast again to form another figure; the same or not.

I googled ‘human candle’ and actually found that this concept is far from unique (even though I came up with it independently). This has given me a drive to set my piece apart from others. I want to give mine some sort of quality that none other has.

The actual appearance of the figure is undecided as of now. When I first conceptualized the project, I pictured a short and stocky, cartoony character used as the figure. I pictured minimal detail: no face or hair. I think this idea was subconsciously stolen from KAWS. (see figures) I am still undecided on what style figure I want to make. (see figures) However, I believe I need to more fully form the message I want to convey and have that bring me to a conclusion.

Similarly, I am interested in making multiple figures from the same mold (if a mold is my route of making these) utilizing different materials. This is also another way for me to differentiate myself from other “human candles”.


I will probably stray from this original plan and will continue to flesh out my idea before I start the process of constructing it.


  1. John Roach · April 21, 2015 Reply

    QUESTIONS: What is the symbolic significance of the material used? How might the rate of decay or destruction reflect your theme? How will the project be shared? What is the role of documentation?

    RESOURCES & REFERENCES: http://www.sculpt.com (90 Vandam Street), Anthony Gormly, Juan Munoz, david shrigley (for the morbid humor), Marc Quinn (‘Self’), Jeanine Antoni – Lick and Lather.

  2. John Roach · April 21, 2015 Reply

    MORE REFERENCES: Charles Ray; Cai Guo Giang – http://www.caiguoqiang.com; Tome Friedman (artist not writer)

  3. Susanna Treacy · April 22, 2015 Reply

    Will there be any added effects to enhance the burning process? Perhaps lighting or a video component?

  4. Claire Coleman · April 22, 2015 Reply

    How will your human candle be contained so that the fire doesn’t become a hazard? Some sort of containment could be used to add to the installation or could take the focus away from it, so it’s something to consider.

  5. sepuv845 · April 22, 2015 Reply

    How will you communicate the concept idea behind choosing a human candle to the audience?

  6. Jie Ying Du · April 23, 2015 Reply

    How are you going to get the audience to interact with your installation?

  7. dortl485 · April 27, 2015 Reply

    Are you going to make the candles different colors or just keep it one color?

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