For our final project, we were assigned to work on a set and a character design that we would ultimately transform into an interactive, posable figure. I immediately decided on a character that I’ve had for a longer time, and developed her space further on paper to create this small environment, as well as the character herself.
Jo Nosch is a 24 year old journalist, curator and fine artist currently living in a suburban town in Massachusetts. Having finished college at the age of nineteen, Jo has always been considered a progidy because of her unexplainable intellect & capabilities. Other attributes people praise her for are of being a polyglot, her troublesome upbringing and her personal creations. Although Jo seems to have it all, her mental state is slowly deteriorating. Her traumas and history of mental illness have led Jo to become delusional, although she has been able to thrive in the real world in a normal state.
Jo lived the first four years of her life with her biological family in Croatia. The family was very regal and affluent, but their household environment was very corrupted. Jo’s mother had an affair with a partner of low-class status, resulting in Jo’s unplanned birth. After four years, Jo’s biological father realized that Jo was “abnormal” in his eyes, and gave her away to a foster home behind the family’s back. Jo went through an intense year figuring out how she got into this situation, and trying to understand why her family had disappeared from her life. She began to question her self-worth and individuality at a very young age because of this traumatic event. During the winter of the same year she was put into the foster home, she was adopted by an individual named Guy, who would become Jo’s parental guardian.
Throughout the years, Jo travelled alongside Guy around the world, because of Guy’s unknown, international job. In result of this, Jo has lived in three different locations four years each time, has learned several languages semi-fluently, and has gained a lot of personal experiences. Finishing schooling in two different colleges earlier than expected, Jo graduated at the age of nineteen, and gained her degrees both in the fine arts and journalism. Jo immediately began traveling around the world, focusing on citizen journalism in many different areas, and working alongside collaborators on personal artworks.
Alongside her partner Santey, Jo publishes written works that detail the many events of her lifetime. Although Jo was born into “X” generation, Jo believes that she has experienced many past lives, such as participating in a “war” in the Soviet times, getting involved in a submarine chase in the fifties, and being part of a biker gang in old San Francisco in the mid-nineties. In these delusions, she is always the victor and always carries a positive moral from them. Although many people do not believe in her stories, Jo continues to believe in them, and explain that they have somehow shaped her to be the person she is today. One of the most bizarre occurrences concerning these delusions are that documented photographs, memorabilia, & historical objects seem to be accurately dated and authentic.
CONSTRUCTION OF THE SET
For Jo’s set, I will be focusing on the construction of Jo’s room. Her room is in an attic; one can see the left of her room (her studio) where she concentrates on both her written and visual works, interests & general hobbies. Around the room are picture frames, questionable articles of clothing, very dated objects and many, many maps and portraits/historical photos that outline the “delusions” that Jo believes are true to her historical timeline. The room demonstrates how an individual with mental illness, especially with delusional/personality disorder, lives their day to day life in the space where they spend the most time to themselves. The goal of this character & set design is to be able to tell a visual story of Jo and her mental illness, and slowly illustrate the character’s background.
For lighting, I cut out a small window within her attic walls, and I use a small lamps with different colored gels/bulbs to show this kind of lighting. Materials I would use would be found objects, clay, wood, and other materials to mimic objects like sofas, beds, and rugs. For the character herself, she is constructed of armature wire, Super Sculpey, epoxy clay, acrylic paint, fabrics, cotton, thread and mohair.
EXPERIENCES WORKING ON SET & DESIGN
Throughout the semester, I meddled with 3D design and materials for the first time at the New School, not accounting for Space & Materiality freshman yea. I had a wave of experiences in both my studio & seminar classes, both from demos and hands on experience. From learning to sew, to molding with clays and using different types of materials, I successfully was able to apply them to my final project. I struggled with the first two projects given to me since I never meddled in these mediums, nor made physical 3D works for myself. After I practiced, I feel like I definitely improved and I have a long ways to go with 3D making since I want to pursue it.
For my set, I would’ve wanted to spend more time finalizing smaller details, and working on making functional walls since it is a 3 panel perspective wall. Otherwise, it was fun working with symbolisms, constructing objects out of material, and building a set for a character to interact with. I feel like it was very effective in the long-run, giving a proper narrative of the work and showcasing my 2D illustrative style into the 3D realm.