link to article: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/27/stolen-succulents-california-hipster-plants-at-center-of-smuggling-crisis
This piece is about how succulents and cacti are being displaced and transported from their natural environments and commodified into status objects. According to the article, cacti and succulents have become objects that are prized in middle class households in Asia- they have become symbols of wealth. I chose to depict this by layering an illustration I had created. The illustration itself depicts a hipster, middle-class couple relishing in their newfound wealth, displaying their array of plundered goods. I was particularly inspired by images where smugglers are caught and their goods are spread out for documentation by law enforcement.
For this piece, I created the original illustration digitally (attached below). Afterwards, I printed approximately 6 copies of the same illustration. I then cut out different sections of the illustration by layer, and adhered the layers to foamcore. I layered the foamcore sections based on which sections I wanted to come forward to created a slight dimensional effect. Finally, I created a wooden frame for the piece to hide the raw foam edges, to create a more finished look.
The most challenging part of this project was coming up with ideas that would communicate the article I had chosen. I probably spent two months waffling about trying to decide which format and presentation method would best suit the topic at hand. I ultimately chose to do a layered illustration due to time constraints- it was something I was confident that I could finish before the end of the semester without handing in something incomplete.
Below are the iterations and sketches that I had considered. I ultimately chose to include the presence of consumers/people because the actions of people are the moment where commodification can be linked back to.