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Grey Cross Studios
1920 4th St, New Orleans , LA 70113
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(BTC) The Utopia Cube (Grey Cross)

BTC Stands for "Behind the Curtain". Its a look at work created by various artists, photographers and creators around the world. 
Its a small peak behind the curtain as to how the piece was created and the conceptual ideas behind it. 

All art comes with a story. 

The Utopia Cube started out as an experiment. The purpose was to see how heated wax reacted to Styrofoam. I was not intending to turn it into a sculpture, but could see the potential as the experiment continued. Using a cube of Styrofoam, I applied metallic crayons using a soldering iron to melt and super heat the wax, letting it drip randomly onto the cube.. As it dripped, it created a lattice in places on the cube where it ate into the Styrofoam. The wax was then spread and the colors merged while at the same time causing the metal content in the crayon to rise to the surface in places.  Once all 6 sides of the cube had been completely covered the cube was mounted at an angle on an 11" plinth which was painted in a mottled metallic black that merged with the base of the cube. The whole sculpture was then sprayed with a heavy gloss polyurethane which hardened the cube and protects it from damage or chipping.  

I've always had a fascination with Styrofoam. I think its one of the most wasted materials we create. Why throw it out in the trash where it will sit for 5,000 years to hopefully decompose? If we must have this substance around its always made sense to me to reuse it as an art material. 

When I first created the Utopia Cube I was still in my infancy of working with the material. Now it shows up all over my studio and of course the Imaginarium built behind my home is made completely from Styrofoam. It is one of the most flexible materials I know. Here are a few images from the Imaginarium and how its used. Even the heads and skulls you see are made from Styrofoam.

I admit its difficult to work with. I had to create a whole new set of tools and skills in order to make it work for me. I also hunted out places that have a high amount of styrofoam that they throw out. I periodically root through trash to get the best pieces for use in my studio. 

The Utopia Cube, for me, represents a symbol where even something as simple as a cube of Styrofoam can be turned into something much more beautiful. 

Here are some additional shots of the Utopia Cube.

If you would like more information on using Stryofoam as an art material, please feel free to email me at:

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