In Seminar, I am discussing the socioeconomic effects of water pollution on poor and marginalized communities while in studio, I am exploring the effects of pollution on the ocean. I am making an installation piece with a blue whale made out of plastic bags and a painted backdrop of an oil spill.
I’m using plastic bags is because they are the one of the biggest trash pollutants in the ocean.
Plastic Whale Prototype
I figured out the proportions of a blue whale and made templates for the plastic bags.
Then I cut the bags into half so that I glue them into layers.
I’m using acrylic paint to make a background because it will put the whale into context and it conveys another pollutant that affects the ocean: oil.
I primed a canvas sample and the canvas that I plan on using for the final project, which is 37.5″ × 4 yd .
I made a final test of the backdrop in the sample canvas. For the actual backdrop, the light pink will be more peach like my original prototypes.
For next week, I plan on working on the backdrop. I estimate that the painting will take 6-8 hours to complete (I’m bad at estimating).
Starting the Painting
The background is successful so far because it abstractly looks like water, but during class, I was given feedback by Bianca to add a bit of a purple wash on the pink.
My plan for next week is to finish the painting, including creating the stencil for the typography and painting the oil slicks. That will take around 6 hours. I also plan on starting the whale by making a wire frame and beginning to glue pieces together. I estimate I will spend 5 hours on it to start.
Also, to connect the whale and the the background, I plan on painting streaks of red paint on the whale, just like I’m doing on the background, so that the red streaks can represent both oil and blood.
Cutting Typography Templates
I used the laser cutter to make 3 copies of the phrase on bristol board.
Starting the Whale
I was given advice to use wire to create a frame for the whale.
The whale is taking a lot longer than I anticipated. I spent around 8 hours on it before running out of hot glue and have 20 layers done. I think I’ll have to do 60-80 layers in total. I also have to “carve” the whale.
I have a lot of scrap plastic thats too small for the whale so I might use those to make little fish.
Making the Net to Hold Whale
Finishing the Painting
This is the finished backdrop (the color isn’t accurate in the photograph).
I also experimented with soft gel gloss medium to make oil drippings.
I was trying to find smooth large surfaces to do the drippings on, such as wax paper. The best surface I found was the cover of Tupperware. I plan on making more, but I want to try to find a larger surface.
Finishing the Whale
I finished most of the whale (I might add a few more layers and trim the whale to look more like a whale) and tried to set up the installation in my room. The whale and the net were easy to install, however, the backdrop is a different story. I underestimated how heavy the backdrop would be. I originally planned to pin the backdrop to the wall, but it was difficult for me to do in my room (but maybe pinning it against an actual pin board will be easier, but the backdrop is definitely heavy), so I had to drape the backdrop over my door. I will probably need to use at least 5 pins at the top or come up with a backup plan.
I learned how to create an installation. This was the first installation I’ve ever done and the first time I worked with plastic. I also used acrylic medium for the first time. I feel more comfortable using those materials and doing installation now. The challenges I faced were estimating the time it would take me to complete my project and constructing the actual whale. I’m very bad at estimating my time and although I got a bit better, I was still struggling. However, I stopped myself from making plans so that I could complete what I intended to do, even if it took longer than I anticipated. Finding a space to work on my project was also an issue. My dorm was so small and there was too many materials to carry all the way to Parsons, so I had to figure out how to make things work. I worked on my painting at Parsons and then worked on my whale on my dorm bed. The whale was difficult because it was also my first time doing anything like that. I had never shaped wire or work with plastic, so I had trouble keep the whale in shape. In the end, it turned out how I wanted to look, however, it’s very delicate. If I were to do it again, I would adjust the wire frame so it’s more sturdy. The most satisfying thing about the project was seeing it all come together. When I installed it for the first time in my dorm, it was truly relieving to see how sometime I envisioned in my head come to fruition. It is also fun to carry the whale, who I’ve named “Wallace,” around on my shoulders around my room.