Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Iconic scenes decorate halls

Each year arts students make saran wrap sculptures to diplay in the ILRC

Sculpt — Students’ art projects grace the ILRC. Photo credit: Lauren Adriance

Sculpt — Students’ art projects grace the ILRC. Photo credit: Lauren Adriance

The Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and Dorothy all take their iconic stance as they prepare to skip down the yellow brick road. Samantha Baker and Jake Ryan lean in for an anticipated kiss on a table with a birthday cake with 16 candles. Tim Tebow kneels in prayer in celebration of another touchdown pass. Each of these scenes is portrayed through decorations on the third floor of DeMoss Hall.

Professor Todd Smith, director of the Visual Communication Arts program at Liberty, teaches Arts 330, a sculpture class that introduces sculpture making techniques and concepts of sculpture. The sculptures are displayed around campus, particularly on the third floor of DeMoss.

At the beginning of each fall semester for the past five years, Smith has assigned his students to work in groups to complete these sculptures. Each group chooses a famous scene, painting or photograph from history to portray. Smith said these sculptures help the students and the public to see iconic scenes in a different way.

“How many of us have seen the Wizard of Oz where they are going down the yellow brick road?” Smith said.

The uniqueness of the sculptures guides people to stop and look. Students use various materials such as cardboard, wood, PVC pipes, Saran Wrap, Cling Wrap and packing tape. Smith said students are attracted to the sculptures project every semester it has been a part of his curriculum.

“I always stand back and watch, and students are taking their phones out,” Smith said. “They are taking pictures, and you can see they are sending them to people.”
Smith said he believes the interest in the sculptures stems from a God-given desire.

“(God) made us to enjoy beauty, and it’s all around us,” Smith said.

“And so when we see beauty, we are experiencing an incredible facet of who God is.”

Each sculpture is accompanied by a description about the moment it depicts as well as the story behind it. Smith believes that the story each sculpture tells is important.

“To me, one of the biggest aspects of any art is its storytelling capacity,” Smith said. “Everything has a story. And I think that is the beauty of what these sculptures do. They tell a story.”

Among the sculptures seen on the third floor is a replica of “The Kiss,” a photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt. The photograph shows a sailor kissing a woman in Times Square while celebrating the end of World War II.

Uriah Atwood, a junior in Smith’s class, is a part of the group that created the duplication of the photograph. Atwood said he believes that this project has not only benefited him, but also other artists.

“Spreading works and sharing good art is the very least I hope to gain, and maybe we can even inspire some other artists to make something,” Atwood said.

Shortly after the first few days of class, students are given about a month to complete their sculpture. They work together to combine all of their ideas, according to Atwood.

Carolyn Cardinale, a senior whose group duplicated the last scene from “Sixteen Candles,” said she gained group experience as well as experience working with unique materials.

“We learned a lot about the importance of working as a team and maintaining communication so (that) the project was effectively completed,” Cardinale said. “Working with packing tape and Cling Wrap was a new art medium for us, so there was a lot of trial and error as we figured out what the best method was.”

In his office, Smith has a visual of a book that was made into a bird-like sculpture. He showed his art students the piece and told them the idea behind the figure is “knowledge takes flight.” This idea, along with the idea behind the Cling-Wrapped sculptures, is to ultimately provide a new way to look at art.

“I want people to appreciate the arts in general,” Smith said. “They can appreciate how art can be different, and maybe to see something in a
different way.”

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