AFH Creates Wall Sculpture for Continuum
Name: Cameron Chin
Studio: 3D Design Studio
School: Boston Latin Academy (Junior)
Years at AFH: 3 Years
Can you tell us a little bit about the Continuum project?
We first tackled this project by looking at the client’s space and what the client wanted, which was a wall relief spanning the width of a turquoise wall in the lobby of an apartment building. The design couldn’t be too clunky because people have to be able to get by—we had to make sure the area was still accessible.
Describe the design process of the Continuum project.
We started out by making sketches and brainstorming ideas on paper. From there, we began modeling, and from modeling we started designing. We took one design and expanded on it, using materials we were confident with: wood, aluminum, and collaging. Then we played around with the design until we got what we wanted. We built each piece, and arranged them in a specific order from resin to aluminum to wood. The design ended up becoming this cool, unique shape that looks like a sound wave.
What were some of the challenges the 3D Design Team faced with this project?
The measurements were most challenging—how tall and wide we wanted the panels to be—because this is a very unique shape. How we were going to go about mounting this on a wall was also a challenge because we had to consider the measurements between the lengths in relation to the total wall space. A drawing is just a drawing until you see the piece come to life!
What did you enjoy most about working on this project?
Experimenting with the different materials. Dyeing the wood was super fun; we’ve never dyed wood before. That was a learning process. We’ve worked with dyed aluminum previously, but this time it was so many pieces of aluminum and the challenge was making them all uniform.
Have you always been interested in art and design?
From a very young age, I’ve always liked making all sorts of three dimensional objects and giving them as presents to people. This includes painting mugs, making key chains, jewelry, clothes for my stuffed animals, dollhouse miniatures, and so on.
Tell us more about your jewelry and clothing making process.
I like making jewelry for my neighbors, mom, and my teachers at school. I make the beads out of polymer clay, which I taught myself how to do using YouTube videos when I was 10.
I make patches for my friends who sew them onto their backpacks or add them to their shirt breast pockets. Usually I take a piece of cloth (often from recycled clothing) and put it through an embroidery hoop, adding flowers and small details.
What are you working on right now in the 3D Design Studio?
We’re always working on 5-10 projects in different stages. Right now, we’re working on bike racks for the Fenway area that reflect the neighborhood’s unique vibe. The Fenway is very expressive—it’s filled with so much dynamic signage. So, the bike rack design I’m working on uses icons, hashtags, and punctuation marks inspired by the energy of the neighborhood.
How has your time at AFH impacted your personal, academic, or social life?
AFH has introduced me to very cool people, especially the mentors. I’ve never been surrounded by creative adults like I have here and that’s very cool. Especially since they help us out; they give us advice not only in art and design but also in life, in general. I’ve also made a lot of great friends.
Before AFH, I wasn’t educated on color theory, gradients, or shadows. In the Painting Studio, I learned more complex ways to sketch and paint. I never had a job before AFH and I‘ve learned how to balance holding a job while being in school. Ultimately, AFH has taught me responsibility, time management, organizational skills, and the importance of being punctual.
What’s new in Allston? AFH’s 25-foot-long mixed media wall installation for Continuum luxury apartments, made by our 3D Design Studio. The large-scale wall-mounted 3D piece is a bricolage of reVision tiles (made from reclaimed magazines collaged on plywood and coated in a low-VOC epoxy resin), hand-dyed aluminum, and hand-dyed wood sealed in a glossy lacquer. Mounted edge to edge, the installation’s textural range and kinetic shape activates Continuum’s space.
What advice would you offer to a teen who is just starting out at AFH?
Take advantage of all of the knowledge that is being presented to you because not only can you apply that to art and what you’re doing in the studio, but also you can apply it to your life. And this is a REAL job, so come on time—be punctual. And don’t forget to have fun, too! This is a very cool, unique space that you’re probably not going to find anywhere else. It’s a good place to de-stress after a long day of school and a good place to just be in the zone to create and make art.
Name: Fred Plowright
Studio: 3D Design Studio
Years at AFH: 8 Years (4 years as teen in Painting Studio, 4 years as assistant mentor in 3D Design Studio)
How did AFH’s collaboration with Continuum come to be?
This opportunity was presented by our Sales/Project team [Lorraine, Rich, and George] and they thought the 3D Design Studio would be the right fit. The team is continually connecting us with developers and property managers to offer our art and design services.
What was the biggest challenge for your studio during this project?
The biggest challenge with this project was making the three media match because we were working with aluminum, wood, and magazine collage. We needed the colors to be cohesive; not completely the same but cohesive.
We used color theory to mix exactly the right tone that we wanted. At first, our wood turned out too yellow so we worked on darkening it until it matched the colors in the collage. It was a learning experience throughout the creative process and we had to make adjustments to achieve the results we were striving for.
Tell us about the most exciting part of the Continuum project.
The most exciting part of this project was seeing the close-to-finished pieces once we had all of the colors right, plus seeing how the wood would look next to the collage and the aluminum. The most rewarding part of any project is when you get it right after re-working it countless times—witnessing everything fit together properly is really satisfying.
What is the relationship between your personal making practice and your mentorship role in the 3D Design Studio?
In my personal making practice, I try not to constrain myself to boundaries and try to think of an unconventional approach to each project. So, I’m always trying new things and that’s important in 3D Design because the scope of our work is so vast. You have to be able to go in with a fresh mindset, and always be open to new methods—no matter how crazy it may seem. Sometimes the best solutions are the results of experiments.
What would be your advice to teens as to how they can work on creative projects on their own time, outside of AFH?
Start small with a model: make it out of plastic or out of paper. Play with your materials and from there you can scale up your design. But don’t be scared to start with something cheap and simple; even a design made from toothpicks can evolve into one made of large pieces of wood. Don’t be intimidated thinking of scale when you’re first starting.
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For this project, AFH participants even had the opportunity to collaborate with youth from West End House in the making of the reVision tile collages. Here, we dive deeper into the project with AFH 3D Design Studio assistant mentor Fred and 3D Design Studio participant Cameron.