This “In a Box” project is inspired by the artist, Joseph Cornell. We were each given a wooden box and a theme deciding what the box design will be based on.

Before making this piece, we first analyzed Joseph Cornell’s box artwork to let us practice to think deeper by identifying the art elements he incorporated into his piece. We also learned two other artists: Chiharu Shiota and Kara Walker. Afterwards, to prepare for the box project, we did media testing with air dry clay and practiced creating depth with a printout landscape. Lastly, we picked a theme out of a hat and brainstormed ideas and drew out plans. My theme was dreams.

The steps of me creating this box were to first paint the box black using acrylic paint. While it was drying, I made the ladder out of wooden sticks. Then I molded 2D planets using the air dry clay and painted it with acrylic paint. I chose to paint the planets using cool colors so the red door can pop out. However, I wanted my piece to have unity, so I added hints of red into each planet and had the farthest planet consisting mostly red paint with hints of cool colors. The final step was molding the head using plaster gauze, making the red door, and gluing cotton to portray clouds. When I assembled the pieces, I realized the clouds were taking attention away from the head (they were both white), so I added a faint hue using black paint to mute the brightness of the white cotton. When my box was completed, I was happy with how it turned out, thought the final piece was different than how I had envisioned it to be. The background didn’t look as galaxy-like as I wanted; I removed the dangling stars because it looked juvenile, and I chose to paint the head white rather than making it look realistic to juxtapose the black background. Other challenges I encountered were choosing the materials and time management. I solved these problems by doing more media testing in my sketchbook and staying in after school to finish incomplete work.

Throughout this process, I was doing my best work and taking advantage of class time. However, in the first two classes, I believe I could have managed my time better because I spent a lot of time working on painting the background when I could have spent the time focusing on the head. This resulted in the last few classes being a little rushed, but the way I solved this problem was to stay in after school. In this box piece, I challenged myself by incorporating new techniques and media such as air dry clay and plaster gauze. Looking at my completed work, I think I have grown as an artist because I put what we’ve previously learned into practice, such as the design principles (rule of thirds, symmetry, etc.).

Sketchbook Planning:







Progress Photos:


The 3 Artist Habit of Mind I chose are Understanding the Art World, Envision, Stretch & Explore

The first Artist Habits of Mind I will be talking about is Understanding the Art World. When developing this piece, we learned about 3 artists: Joseph Cornell, in which this project is inspired by; the Japanese string installation artist, Chiharu Shiota; and finally, an African-American artist, Kara Walker who made silhouette cutouts. For more inspiration, I went on Pinterest and found a drawing of a head submerged in water halfway. This drawing inspired me to mold only half of a head to portray the person ‘drowning’ in the emptiness of the universe just like the photo shown above.


For this project, envisioning took a big role. I had to show ‘dreams’ in an abstract way which required picturing the final design, thinking through each step, and knowing what materials to use. I envisioned a head being the focal point with a ladder leading up to a door that’s located on the side of the head. The door symbolizes the person entering a different state of mind. The space background symbolizes dreams can have infinite possibilities. To help with the process of creating a real-life version of what I have pictured, I jotted down notes and reminders to guide myself.



While developing this piece, I stretched and explored different medias. I did tests in my sketchbook using a sponge and acrylic paint to practice creating galaxy patterns and used a brush to create wavy lines. After two classes mainly focusing on the galaxy background, the muted dark colors were difficult to identify, so in the end, I didn’t use the sponge technique, instead I dotted the empty space around the planets using metallic paint to portray stars.