Who Will Save Us From The Venusians?

Slip-cast ceramic, gold luster. Dimensions: 6 inches in height by 3.5 inches in width by 5 inches in depth. 2012.

Influenced by artists such as Adrian Saxe and Jeff Koons, this group slip-cast relief sculptures is based on plastic fast-food promotional cups. Using casts of actual fast-food cups as backdrops, each relief incorporates historical, art historical, political, and pop cultural figures in a movie-poster style collage. The form of the handle is based on the Times New Roman quotation mark. The final pieces are slip-cast ceramic with gold luster.

Who Will Save Us From The Venusians? features: Martha Stewart, Ron Paul, Muhammad Ali, Captain Jean Luc Picard, a bear, a rabbit, Giorgione’s Venus, and the flying saucers from Earth Versus the Flying Saucers.

The first step in producing these sculptures was to slip-cast the original plastic cup (a Subway cup). I then added thin sheets of slip (~1/8 inch thick) cut to conform to the main elements of the design. The majority of the sculpting was accomplished subtractively, but one of the primary benefits of working in casting slip is that, when necessary, mass can also be built up by brushing additional slip onto the surface. I then took a silicone mold of the rough prototype to cast in plaster. The harder material allowed for greater control in the final stages of refinement and detailing. I took an additional silicone mold of this finalized prototype, largely for insurance against damage during the plaster mold making process. It is good that I did, as I went through several prototypes while making the final, four-part plaster mold.

To facilitate the casting process, I made a custom sponge, cast from 10lb two-part expanding foam, to fit inside the cups. This served two functions: first, it minimized the risk of deforming the walls when using compressed air to free the casts from the mold; second, it provided a safe and convenient way to hold the cups while running seams and refining each cast.

Process from left to right: plaster mold of original Subway cup (cup not shown); slip-cast cup with preliminary relief sculpture; first silicone mold; refined plaster cast from first silicone mold; handle in plaster mold; second silicone mold; final prototype cast from second silicone mold; custom sponge cast using 10lb two-part expanding foam; plaster mold taken from final prototype, with cast cup; cleaned and assembled cups.

A compilation of the relief pieced together in Photoshop from forty separate images.