What’s next? Reflection + Taking my designs further

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With finishing up my degree right around the corner, I have been thinking of what could be next, or what am I taking forward from my final project, Garden. 

Overall I gained a lot of insight in my values who I am/want to be as an artist/designer this year. Making my Sculpture was very enjoyable. Although I used CNC and laser cutting as a core process which I learnt last year along with bronze casting and slab building,  I still tried new processes and materials like soldering brass, making a weave from synthetic hair, mould making from rocks, and casting cement.

Maquettes proved me wrong

Trying to make maquettes (in a composition of 30cm) to full scale of 3m came with problems because every process of making individual objects was a whole new process. However, through making both scales of the designs I gained a good insight in my work ethic, which processes I like the most, which values are most important to me, and what I aim for in my work.

I always liked big scale installations, and sculptures – an experience and interaction with a space is what I am most intrigued by, hence set design, big scale sculptures, events, anything that you can immerse yourself into is great. So when I was planning to make ‘big things’ this year maquettes were just a part of the process in order to make sure what those big things would be like. However, making maquettes in the beginning, completing the full scale, and going back to the maquettes I discovered that I actually really do like making small scale beautiful maquettes. This is due to:

  1. Maquettes are way quicker to make – can visualise immediately
  2. Explore more concepts and ideas due to reason 1
  3. Can be just as beautiful as the full scale
  4. Cost efficient
  5. Can have a collection/series of them to play around with compositions

I always thought maquettes were a temporary tool to get to the text process, therefore when tutors suggested I have the maquettes in my final show, I was hesitant. However, I really enjoyed re-making the maquettes again after making the full scale sculptures, and it polished off what was missing from my final pieces; showing my thinking stage.

The most important value to me is having an original idea, concept and theory, exciting/playful feeling through my work, and interactivity.

To get my ideas across, I need the maquettes to show more of my thinking/concepts/ideas than just through one sculpture piece, because I had so many options and combinations I could have done in full scale. I just had to narrow it down to 9 due to time. Therefore my maquettes allow people to look at my thinking, and also get an idea of what they could be, which  is apart of my concept anyway.

Remaking multiple maquettes in a few days after several months of making just 9 things made me feel bitter sweet, because I think the maquettes are just as good, if not better than my full scale sculptures in some ways.

My favourite part of a project is to think of concepts, answering a brief, team work, and composing – handcraft making is apart of those processes, but is not my highest priority. The part I enjoy most of making is thinking about how to approach things, or problem solving.  Therefore after finalising my ideas and the labour kicks in, I think I lose focus, and I rather be moving on to the next project.

So what’s the next step for my project? How would I approach it differently?

As much as I loved making my sculptures, I loved taking photos of them, putting them in different contexts, and creating a series of compositions and documenting them. I am not precious about my work, because I think my images/documenation that comes out of it is my final piece.

The photo book is an example of taking my work further in two ways. One is using the finals sculptures as a starting point for interior design. Although I didn’t fully explore interior design in my degree, I am curious about the boundaries of art and design, and would like to push my ‘use sculpture as interior design’ further. I think the photos I took of them in an interior context is just the beginning of it, as I can set a brief for myself to make functional designs from the sculptures I designed and made.

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Second, I would like to see what I can create with making a whole series of maquettes and filling a room full of them. Will I make a bigger virtual world for people to step into if there are more of them? Setting up my show with the maquettes felt very natural to me, as I knew how I wanted them to look, but I also valued everyones opinions which is about critiquing and team working. The third part of the photo book shows that I can still create small scale work, but pitch it as a monumental scale using perspective. Therefore, I would be interested in carrying on with the maquette making, and see if i can create a whole ‘world’ out of them – a beautifully different, familiar and unfamiliar, virtual world where I would like to live in. The end result of this piece will be an interavtive installation, and images.

Further more, I would be interested in possibly making a film out of that by adding a kinetic element to it, to show that it is a ‘system’, and incorporate technological elements into the maquettes to see how the forms could move. The film itself would be an art piece on its own, as the screen becomes a frame to create graphic compositions out of. I did my first Promotional Film for a fashion collection as a Director, and I really enjoyed it, therefore I want to push that forward and build on my portfolio.

There are many possibilities that could start from my final piece, but those are my top three ideas that I would pursue doing, or expand on.

In terms of how would I do differently next time, I wouldn’t change much in terms of the designs, however I would like to explore making them for outdoors as well, since it is inspired by playgrounds and zen gardens. OR I would narrow my making processes to just a few, like CNC out of MDF and Slab building, to make more of the sculptures and possibly making them durable enough for people to climb on, making it a artistic playground for all ages.







Where/how would I show case my work?

In fine Art context:

My full scale sculptures would be perfect in a fine art gallery setting, perhaps places like the Saatchi Gallery in London, or the Cooper Hewitt Harlem Design Centre in New York

I believe my project can be placed anywhere as long as all the pieces are present next to one another and it will have to be inside. Ideally, if I had the opportunity to get commissioned to display my work somewhere, I would want to make a series of sculptures that reflect the site somehow. It will be amazing if I can create a series (or extensions) of Garden in multiple areas, they will all be different, but still have my aesthetic.

My work is all about the environment, so it would be a challenge to make something in respond to the location. I would make the pieces for the exterior, which will be a whole other process, but I feel like the sculptures I made is just the beginning of it all.

In Interior Design/product context:

If I were to sell the pieces right now, it would be a very slim market, as the sculptures are very fragile due to the papers. Therefore it will have to be advertises as art pieces for art collectors. Also, I wouldn’t mind selling the pieces separately however, as soon as they are placed in different places, it loses the context of my work and becomes just an artefact.

The maquettes are more sellable due to the scale, and they can be made fairly quickly, so the prices will be a fraction of the scale pieces. It is not my priority to sell my work as an artist, this project was more about experimenting and exploring concepts through making. Therefore the full scale pieces will be a one off piece. The maquettes on the other hand could be made again however, I would keep it as ‘limited edition’ pieces and think about how I can use those pieces to gain interest from other people to do new projects.  As a result, rather than selling them as final products for the commercial market, I would sell it as a piece for my own identity as a artist and designer.

This is what I am aiming to do for New Designers this year, I would much rather have someone approach me with a new project or brief that I can work from through seeing my maquettes rather than people just buying them for decorative purposes.

I would sell the maquettes in little fish tank like containers or open platforms as a set of compositions and not individually. Since the scale is quite small, I think it is reasonable to sell it that way and convey my ideas that way.

Press Pack Design and components

I want to really customise my press pack to show my identity and also have a unity throughout the different elements of it all. This photo is my inspiration of how I want the different components to look.




CV – I kept my CV Pretty simple, with blue accents on the titles.

Stickers –

I did 6 designs for the stickers which are all fun designs and within the same colour scheme of my project. My personal favourite is the picture of the pink ball, Blossom. The stickers are going to be circlular, and I ordered them from moo.com. For a set of 54, it was about 17 pounds.

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I got 8 of these USB sticks, 8GB, 3 pounds each. I am planning to put one of the stickers on there so it can look more personalised. Inside the USB, I have images of my three photoshoots I did in the book, high res and low les.

Extra Fun – I wanted to add a little bit of extra something to the press pack, so I experimented with laser cutting the shoji design on the yellow handmade paper I used on the full scale shoji to see what it will look like. it turned out very delicate, but also pretty interesting as a little object. Since people seem to like the maquettes this is like a simplified paper version of those.

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Poster – Lastly I have a poster in there for my final sculpture which can be used as a art piece on the wall.


Sleeves – I ordered a pack of plastic sleeves inspired from the image below, I can experiment with possibly drawing on top of the clear plastic to make that apart of the design rather than using it just as a file holder.


Editing photos and final Photo Book layout

I spent a long time on editing the photos for the phonebook, especially because I want it to be a portfolio for my final project as well.

Deciding which photos to use of out the hundreds I took was not as difficult than I thought because some photos were focused on the wrong area, or the composition and set was not complimenting the work as much as possible. I favourited the potential ones and narrowed it down from there. I also kept in mind what would be less time consuming for the photos to be edited, as I was working from limited set options.


After I chose the one I want to use for the book I edited obvious marks, and colour corrected the images. A lot of them had backgrounds that needed to be extended. I also saved the files as CMYK rather than RBG so the photos don’t turn out dark in print.

Examples of before and after:




It took a lot of work to edit some photos,but I built on my photoshop skills quite a lot in this exercise. However, for future reference, I would try and get the set and background close to perfect as much as possible, to save on this editing time, and make the photos as true to real as possible. There are some photos that are obviously photoshoped, but when the image is not compared side by side by the original, hopefully it is not as noticeable.

I edited out the blue tack that was on the feet of the mini people. Although it is hardly noticeable in the full size images, I wanted to make sure those details were not missed.


This is the final book layout, I used BookWright, a software that Blurb.com offered. It was simple to use, and perfect for a picture book with simple headings. I used a soft flush of pink throughout the book to reflect the feature of my sculptures, ‘Blossom’. The book cost a total of 52.98 pounds with a hard ‘image wrap’ cover and 34 pages. The express shipping was 16.99, the PDF version of the book was 3.00, and the actual book printing cost was 32.40. Not cheap, but the overall purpose of the book is worth the investment.

I named the book  A Place, to some up the three sections of the book which are all for an environmental purpose with different concepts and contexts.Even though they are different settings, it is a a place of utopia and imagination, that doesn’t belong anywhere; it is a place in itself.

I put a quote from Isamu Noguchi in the beginning to set the context and inspiration for my project: “Art is something which lies in the slender margin between the real and the unreal”

Section 1 Garden is the final sculptures in a gallery context, a series of photographs to show the scale, and detail of the final outcome as sculptures.

Section 2 Sculptural Interior is to show that these sculptures can be used as a starting point for interior design by putting it in a familiar environment. I wanted the set to be contemporary and playful.

Section 3 Monumental are photographs of the maquettes, and playing with the scale by putting human figures in them to show that these objects can be an idea for monumental scale designs.

For the titles, I used a white box as a frame for the texts. A Place is in the middle of the white box to show that it is within the frame, however I offset the texts for the chapters to play with composition, and also signify the ‘intermediate’ of the inside and outside by placing the texts not completely in the ‘white frame’.

Overall I am very happy with the outcome, I would like to make more photo books in the future to capture the objects I make because a lot of the things I make is temporary, and the final outcomes are primarily photographs, therefore it makes sense to make it into a book form which becomes the final piece.

Below is the final layout of the book:


Isamu Noguchi Museum: Idea of ‘Place’






While travelling in the US, I went to the Isamu Noguchi Museum in New York. I have done research on him previously for my sculptures so I was very excited to see his sculptures in person.

I was absolutely astonished and overwhelmed by the quality and quantity of his work. It was actually a very moving and emotional moment for me, as I really felt like I understood what he was trying to achieve with his sculptures in creating an environment of his own. I watch a documentary about him and his work, which made me appreciate his work even more, and answered a lot of the questions I had about my own work.

The Zen garden and Japanese architecture influence in my work came from me growing up in Japan, however through watching his documentary I realised that as much as I am Japanese, I have a massive influence by the western culture which makes my work not just a contemporary version of a Japanese garden, but something that I can only create because of my bicultural background.

Noguchi Grew up in Japan as a child and moved to New York as a teenager. Studying to become an sculptor in New York and Paris in the 40’s, he was never comfortable in either culture as he was different from others. I can relate to this factor, however I can imagine how it was more significant 60 years ago.

His early work made in the 40’s and 50’s was critiqued as being common, or not original, which resulted in him going back to Japan his heritage, to gain inspiration of his own. A lot of his famous work is created after visiting Japan, as he based his sculptures from the natural elements of the Japanese landscapes and simplicity of living compared to busy and extravagant mid century style work in the US.

Noguchi’s  Japanese influence in his work is what made him so successful, but I appreciate that his work is not obvious or a direct translation of Japanese art or culture and that is what I want to achieve in my work as an artist. I want to keep my heritage close to me, although I don’t want my work to be all about Japan, as I think I can offer more through my western influences and the way I see both cultures simultaneously.

What moved me the most in my visit was Noguchi’s wish to make the museum his own place, where its nor Japan or the USA, it is his own place to be. After knowing that factor, it felt like I was in a different place; I entered a world of Noguchi. That feeling with no outer distractions was what I liked most about visiting this beautiful place. In terms of my Garden, ideally I want that virtual ‘wall’ for people to go into, to be in a place of my own.

In Alexander Calders Exhibition at Tate Modern, I felt that I was immersed into his world of sculptures and Mobiles, which made me forget about the outside world. Same with Ai Wei Wei.

In the degree show, I will be presenting next to other people, but if I ever do have a solo exhibition I hope that people will feel that they have entered a world of Anna Ling.


I saw these and was immediately drawn to them because it looks like my small maquettes! Next to the full scale sculptures, it is nice to see how they started out as.


The architecture of the museum was an art on its own – The outside and the inside were not completely divided but there were walls in-between which made me think of the ‘intermediate’ (of exterior and interior) of Japanese architecture.


I loved how the plinths were custom made for each piece, the wooden pieces were joined with no nails just like how traditional Japanese houses were made. I liked that it wasn’t on a white plinth, the wooden ones becomes apart of the object.


There was an outside garden area with his sculptures, which felt really close to me because of my project. The cherry trees and the bonsais were placed very strategically and blended in with the sculptures.


Bronze cast, just beautiful.


This was a table full of random bits of ceramic. Reminded me of what our material table might look like. Also reminds me of Anne Gibbs work. Everything was curated to beautifully.


Poster design: Inspired by Eames Arts and Architecture magazine

The Eames Exhibition at the Barbican centre was a big inspiration for me for this poster design. I enjoyed everything from the original furniture and space design by the Eames, to the materials display and maquettes, however my favourite part was the graphics in the exhibition. Art and Architecture, a design magazine published from 1945 through 1967, featured new ideas and residential design (http://www.artsandarchitecture.com/about.html).

I was most impacted by the old school printing techniques, collages, and the colour schemes. The furniture and architecture designs shown in the magazine compliments the retro futuristic, mid century style  graphic design. A lot of the graphics featured hand drawings and sketches, which I thought was fresh as now, a lot of designs are made digitally. I think I am drawn to them especially because of the collage style compositions, and the mixture of 3d photographs and 2d illustrations, with blocks of colour.


Here are letters that the Eames gave to one another, I think it shows how they saw everything as a way of making a graphic composition. The way the post stamps are used as blocks of colour, and the text shows care for visual impact and packaging. I want the poster to not only have the information about the work, but also become apart of the project, for people to keep and enjoy after the show, like these letter envelopes- it is not the actual letter and only a package to hold it, but it is apart of what is inside. b8aa3ecd5530426a840035b8224b937bI especially like this collage drawing of a room display, playing with the perspective and colour of the room. Looking at the images side by side, I see the similarities and the differences, which makes me study the images more. The collage gives a more hand crafted feel to it even though the designs are very fresh and forward. For my poster, I want to make it just more than showing the image of the final sculptures, but add amore graphic element to it, so that it can be appreciated as a graphic design rather than a photograph.  installation-the-world-of-charles-and-ray-eames-barbican-art-gallery.-photo-tristan-fewings_getty-images-317-the-world-of-charles-and-ray-eames-collage-of-room-display-for-an-exhibition-for-modern-living-1949-c2a9-eames-office-llc

I also find these random silhouette drawings fun and contemporary, to me they look like a starting point, or a part of something that already exits – depending on how people take it it can look differently.


To recreate this graphic style, I cut out the individual objects from photos in several perspectives, and scattered them around on A4 size art board on photoshop, leaving the middle open for my logo.

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I then played around with the colours and composition, and made one side just the silhouette of the objects, and the reverse side a black and white photo of the objects.


To make it more contemporary and visually pleasing as a poster, I tried different colours and textures for the front. I decided on the grey background with one pink accent from the ball, which runs throughout of of my digital designs from this project.


I flipped the back image so that it is opposite to one another, therefore when the reader flips the poster, the objects are at the same place. I added the concept and information on the reverse side so people can get a hint of what each object represents in the natural Zen garden elements.

‘Inspired from the traditional Zen Gardens of Japan, each sculpture represents the elements of nature to create a landscape in a contemporary manner. Step into the virtual world created by the series of objects to experience, play, and question the possibilities of what they could be.’


I ordered 500 A4 sized posters for people to take freely, as a souvenir poster from my show. I ordered from vistprint.com, it cost about 59 pounds including shipping.

Business cards: design process and outcome

I took photos of my initial sketches to make some designs for my business cards. I wanted my business cards to be abstract and not really of anything, to show that I am more of a conceptual thinker than a maker.  I sketched about 30 + designs, and edited them on photoshop to digitalise them with colour, however as I was editing them I realised that they look more like an illustrator or graphic designers work, and therefore lost my identity.


Therefore I stopped using illustrator, and decided to use one of my photos of the maquettes as a base of my business cards. I chose this photo because it is the basis of my project this year, and it is also abstract enough to wonder what they are, and what the scale is. I didn’t want to crop the image, so I decided to divide it in half and use one side for my name, and the other for the contact details.

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I played around with the effects on photoshop to make it more like a drawing or a graphic, however I think it was getting to busy and pastel, therefore I went back to the original.


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Although I like this design, I tried using a hint go pink to unify my work with the sculptures and the book, and poster.

This is my final design, I decided to put Set design and art direction for my description as that is what I describe myself as of now. This might change in the future, but this is what I want to be doing after graduation so I think it is appropriate.

I ordered 500 of them for about 27 pounds on vista print.com. I got the regular matt finish, full colour. I added a 45 notebook with the front design on it for 6 pounds, and 2 A3 size posters for 5 pounds to see the quality. I can use the notebook in the show as a comment book.