the whale mirror

The inspiration for the piece came from an exploration of the influence of the Japanese culture of cute--or kawaii--in American culture. The subculture, which began in the early 1970s, has been embraced by everyone in Japan from teenage girls, to the media, to even government agencies. It has since spread globally and is seeping into American culture in ways that are sometimes more subtle. Artists like Takashi Murakami comment on how profoundly, and perhaps absurdly, the popular culture has disseminated. I attempted to do something similar through a furniture piece that would bring an extravagantly playful element into a space.

Ideation & Refinement
While the piece does serve a function as a mirror, the amount of space it consumes for the amount of function it provides is disproportional, an aspect which comments upon the necessity of the cute culture. The whale, with its magnificent size and beauty, would bring an unmistakable sense of whimsy and lightheartedness. The style and shape of the whale was vital to conveying this, and it was further refined through various test models that tested its form and scale.

A SolidWorks model of the form divided the piece into layers to be CNC routed out of Ultra Light MDF. The pieces were glued and nailed together and then smoothed with sanding and water putty. Cleats attached the mirror to the body and a protective layer of felt was added to the bottom.

To further finish the piece, I am currently working to cover the body in a fiberglass shell and gel coat. The mirror could be available in a variety of color options, both bold and subtle.