Art + Energy Sculpture


During the Summer of 2017, I had had the opportunity to explore the energy industry through many different lenses; I worked on online publications related to energy, organized energy events, and had just hit the tipping point for success on the Duke LED Initiative. After having had all these experiences, I wanted to shift my perspective and approach the energy industry from the lens of an artist.


Over the course of several months, my team and I worked to design, prototype, and fabricate a 14′ tall art sculpture that represented the increasing penetration of clean energy technologies in the modern grid. The sculpture (pictured below) contains an abstraction of a turbine blade intersecting a sheet of coal, and an incomplete frame of the blade extending far beyond the sheet. See our Artist Statement for more details.

Current Status + Deliverables

We have completed the sculpture for display. The following are two images of the completed sculpture on display at the Duke University Smart Home. The following is a photo gallery of our work from start to finish:  Sculpture Design Process.

Skills + Takeaways

  1. Prior to this project, I primarily worked with Google SketchUp for my models. This project allowed me to first get my hands dirty with Fusion 360, and learn the intricacies of the software.
  2. While working on this project, I learned how to use a Hotwire CNC. I was introduced to fiberglass wrapping and the process for applying fiberglass.
  3. The extreme importance of prior planning (i.e. budgeting, timeline preparation, and clear establishment of goals) was made clear to me through this project. When I first started the project, I expected to be finished in two weeks. However, due to not effectively outlining my goals, I was constantly changing my vision for the sculpture and scope of my work, leading to completion of the sculpture over ten months. To be fair, I only worked on it in my free time, but ten months is still much longer than two weeks.
  4. Some of the limitations of using 3D-printing and laser-cutting technologies for larger scale projects were made evident to me.
  5. Hand-sculpting foam is tedious, awful, and messy… I applaud people who do it for a living!

Awards / Recognition

coming soon…