Artistry is a concept that is not usually explored in engineering yet is an invaluable skill that touches everything from product design to systems thinking. This past summer I developed conceptual designs for a large format sculpture that required connecting engineering knowledge with artistic vision. The initial phase required constant inspiration and creativity. The first step was to look at previous sculptures showcased throughout the world, such as at venues like “Burning Man,” to understand the possibilities or limitations of the space provided. Sketching varied and numerous ideas was essential in our design process. Next, we took our favorite ideas and created three dimensional renderings using various computer programs (Blender, SolidWorks) which allowed us to bring theoretical concepts into model space and explore issues of dimensionality and spatial location. These models were placed in a virtual reality setting, allowing us to walk through these to-be-created sculptures to understand how a spectator may experience the piece. We also created small-scale physical models using a solid modeling computer program and laser cutters to implement structural integrity principles and redefine limitations. In this piece I reflect upon this summer experience and the ways it changed the ways I think about engineering, design, and art.

Author/Artist Bio

Jacqueline Puga is a senior mechanical engineering student at the University of San Diego. Gordon Hoople is a professor in the Department of Integrated Engineering at the University of San Diego.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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