IDEA #60. Create a scaled-up version of some simple object—say, a six-foot lollipop. Find a place to display your giant something. Keep a blog or journal of the creation and the experience of people’s response.
In the 1960s outscale representations of everyday objects became a particularly entertaining sub-genre of the Pop Art movement; Claes Oldenburg’s giant sculpture, “Lipstick on a Caterpillar Track,” was part of the vista from the author’s college dormitory room. More recently a student at the school where I work constructed a giant pencil, realistically broken, that occupied the margin of our baseball field; we don’t know what our opponents thought of it, but the combination of whimsical imagination and solid craftsmanship always pleased us.
The design challenge is of course the scaling-up, a fine mathematical exercise involving accurate measurement and an understanding of proportion. Any object will do, of course, the more unexpected the better.
Masonite or other relatively workable building materials can be formed around wooden frames to produce most non-curvilinear forms, and fiberglass and other plastics are almost infinitely shape-able. The greatest challenge in the end might be to find a suitable, and secure, place to display the work. Municipal public spaces or schoolyards might do, or perhaps a local arts organization has a spot available. Although we hesitate even to mention it, there is a fine and lively tradition of “guerrilla” public art, with pieces suddenly turning up in the most unexpected and amusing places—if a work is neither offensive nor dangerous, perhaps the young artist could quietly arrange for an unveiling in a place calculated to surprise—and to entertain, safely. However, there may be unforeseen consequences, so proceed with extreme caution and circumspection. It would probably be best to start by asking permission of those in charge of likely display venues.
The response is the thing. A large and unexpected object will raise a smile on most people’s faces, and the young artist should take pride and pleasure in observing how viewers react. If there is indeed an art teacher somewhere in the young artist’s life, that person will very much enjoy hearing all the details—food for further discussion about the creative process and the nature of art, as well.