Final Project- Lauren Getz

I started the journey of creating my project thinking of the opposite of minimalism, but ended up reaching a very simple and modern final product. My initial idea was to create something exemplifying light pollution in cities.


This idea was to have a set of string lights set up to act as stars in a box, in addition to a central light which would represent the city lights. When the inner light was on, it would be harder to see the star lights. 

I began this portion of my experimentation by creating the canvas box everything would go in. I initially was really interested in utilizing paint and traditional artistry techniques in order to challenge myself as painting is not something that comes naturally to me.

This iteration turned out much less impressive than I was originally hoping. I felt the light was not creating the effect I was hoping for, in addition to the painting being of lack luster skill. I think this was a really good idea which I am still interested in, but was not passionate enough to see it through for this project.

Since I found in my first attempts that canvas was quite thick, and with paint merely reflected light inwards, I wanted to play with the idea of dimensional shadows. I made a second iteration using water colour paper in an attempt to get the color to bleed through   into the shadows. I set up a small model to experiment with utilizing dimension.

This idea once again felt as though it was failing to utilizing the properties of light in an artistic manner. I found myself trying to rely on the shapes of the paper and the artistic skill put into the painting rather than manipulating the light. This lead me to iteration number three.

In iteration number three, the concept was to set up a bunch of random objects I use for climbing and create an interesting shadow which I could add art to the background to meld the two forms of lines together. I really enjoyed this idea because I felt I was finally getting somewhere with using light in a way to capture a piece of art in the form of a shadow.

The downfall of this idea was once again relying on my own artistic ability and trusting myself to make some sort of world within the confines of the lines of the shadow. This idea would also be very hard to transport as nothing was set solidly in play. With each iteration I found myself stripping more and more away from the designs leading me to stare at the shadows different paper and objects made coming from different light sources to truly immerse myself in the shadow art.

I hot glued white canvas together as a backdrop, an idea that came from iteration one with the idea of creating a confined space.  After experimenting with camp lamps, desk lamps, work lamps, flashlights, LED’s, halogens, I finally settled on using a simple LED flashlight.

As far as the content of the shadow, I was really interested in the idea of creating an optical illusion. I think it really speaks to the idea that although you can see a shadow, you can’t actually see where it is coming from. I chose the simple two faces or a vase optical illusion. In addition to setting up my simple paper cut out, I built a periscope for the viewer to be able to interact more with the piece. The periscope serves to allow the viewer to see what is causing the shadow, while still separating them from it.  The cutout piece of paper will feel further away and separated from the shadow itself because the two are never seen at the same time due to the periscope.

The final result of my project produced a really interesting shadow which could be perceived as two people talking, or a white projection of a vase. The flashlight I used worked with 3 pointed LED’s which created a really interesting dimensional effect.

My project completely changed from the ideas I initially started out with, however I enjoyed stripping each idea down until I was left with simple shadow art. I think because it took so many iterations for me to reach a final concept I was truly able to embrace the minimalist design.  I was able to focus on the light and what the light was doing with my piece rather than trying to add unnecessary paining or drawing. Part of what is so interesting about shadow art is that when you turn the light off, the art is gone. The light does all the drawing for you. I believe going through this struggle helped me create a piece I enjoyed and gave me a deeper appreciation for light art.

Minimalism: a trend in sculpture and painting that arose in the 1950s and used simple, typically massive, forms.

Also something Lauren should have embraced earlier on in her light art project.

Polish and Present- Lauren Getz

Today I’m going to take you on a journey from chaos to serenity.

This is how our scene begins, with various lights and diffusions spread out in a battle field of light art. I had work lamps, emergency lamps, desk lamps, various light bulbs from halogen to LED. There was cardboard, paper, tinfoil, and at one point a sweater.

I began cutting out shapes to try and create something interesting to look at, and to me, what’s more interesting than an optical illusion. My next thought was which one would be best illusion ed as a shadow. I decided on the classic two faces or one vase illusion.

So I got my cut out, built my white box, and picked a light source. After all the experimentation I ended up using a simple flashlight, but it gave the best result surprisingly.

This is what the image looks like up close, the flashlight uses 3 LED’s which produced some dimensional shadows. I think this really illustrates the idea behind how you don’t always know what you’re looking at, when you can only see the effect of the shadow.

This was my final set up, I cleaned up where the light was coming from, choosing to secure it from the top with magnets. I also hung the cut out from above so I could control where my shadow was coming from in order to easily transport it in my car 45 minutes.

I made a periscope to make it more interactive with the viewer. It serves to show a peek of what is actually causing the shadow when the viewer only seeing the shadow from above wouldn’t know. There is an additional surprise to behold with the periscope. I did not attach it because I wanted people of various height to be able to interact and explore the space from which ever angle they chose.

This is a view down the periscope which didn’t turn out very well. I am ultimately happy with my project, I think it was a rough road getting here, but all turned out well. I’m really glad I went with a minimalist approach and stripped away all the unnecessary steps I was trying to take and completed a unique concept idea I think works well.

Everything Working- Lauren Getz

Okay so this week went pretty well. Started off by dealing with my light issues.

I wanted to contain the string lights I had so I put them in this plastic bottle.

Then I needed to find a way to defuse them so I wrapped a piece of paper around the bottle and I think it worked pretty well.

I set up a bunch of climbing supplies and arranged them in a way that made a pretty cool shadow. I wanted to combine my idea of creating a separate box world, and doing something with shadows as a part of the piece. I think one of my initial problems was I was focusing a lot on the art aspect and not as much on the light aspect, so I wanted to bring things back to the light.

This is another angle on the shadow I created, I especially liked the red cast my water bottle made on the canvas.

It’s hard to see in this picture, but I lightly traced the shadow in pencil on the canvas.

Then I took the backdrop canvas away and traced it out in black pen.

I started adding different elements of an imaginative world, including a pet snake tied to a tree that is trying to escape down a hole to an underwater world where a friendly octopus and jellyfish live.

So I put the canvas back at the set up and was having some trouble lining up the shadows again, but I think I got the basics. Some of the drawing was covered up by the shadow in a weird way, but I think I can fix it in the final iteration.  I have added more details to the canvas since then, but  was having trouble getting the pictures to transfer from my phone.  Once I get the background artistic features set, I’ll enclose it further to create more of a separate space.

A Summary of My Failure- Lauren Getz

This is an over dramatization of how I went from loathing my project, to becoming tolerable acquaintances with it.

To recap from last week, I presented my project right after the vortex of fire/water and was rather lackluster in comparison. Although art is in the eye of the beholder, I did compare myself to that project and wanted to improve from there. The professor suggested layering paper in some sort of way to create cool shadows. I scrapped my old idea and ripped out the lights from it super dramatically. This was my first failure.

New and exciting plan: use watercolour to make cut out designs and layer them to create a cool effect. I was thinking water color to see if the light would go through it and make a more colorful shadow of some sort.

So I made some mountains and some trees and try to experiment with layering them dimensionally. I think I am struggling to know what types of cut outs I should make and how to bring the content of the art to the next level. My creativity feels blank. Not good when taking an art class.

So then I realized I had to incorporate light someone (duh, light art). I made a sort of canopy over the cutouts in the hopes it would make some cool shadows. I don’t really know why I thought putting light on top of the cut outs would make a shadow fall behind them, but at the time I did.

Okay so as is apparent the shadows did not fall to my liking.  So now i’m thinking make the light source hidden behind a frame in the front and light it that way. I think that will work, I was able to kind of pull it off at my house, but the frame part fell apart and I was not able to bring it in. I feel better about my project moving forward, I think I know what to do. Prepare for next week cause things are about to get next level.

In summary, I failed at creating a good idea last week, but was able to work though a new idea based on ideas of other people.

Maquette~ Lauren Getz

Starting out my maquette I found myself with a literal blank canvas.

After visiting my local craft store I found small canvas squares in a 5 pack for only $4 which I quickly snagged up, spent an additional hour and half going up and down every other aisle, and left.

My initial canvases ready to be painted into “happy” Bob Ross-esque landscapes.

I painted the canvases to look like stars on a night sky in order to have an idea of where to put the LED’s.

I added some grass to the bottom for the idea that it’s a field/ forest sort of landscape.

I realized I don’t know how to count and painted one dark green to act as the base of the open face cube.

I started drilling holes in the canvas, which turned out to make pretty ugly holes instead of the clean effect I was hoping for.

Once the holes were in place I started stringing twinkle lights I had from previous room decoration of yesteryear. It was a pretty long strand so it ended up being a huge hassle to string them through, I ended up just sort of bundling them up randomly in a way that was moderately appealing.

Final setup of my maquette, I painted some trees and other mountain-type blobs in the background for depth. I took the leftover string lights and put them in a bundle in the middle  to represent the light bulb that I couldn’t fit inside the box of canvas well. I made the centerpiece look sort of like a city building with windows, or at least that was my intent.

Doing this maquette gave me the idea to make it slightly more technical by  introducing the idea of LED’s hooked up to a light sensor, so when the light in the middle is on they will automatically be off. The light in the middle will still be manually controlled by a dimmer to make the project interactive with the viewer.

The supplies I believe I will require are:

  1. 5  canvases
  2.  Paint
  3. Glue gun
  4. Arduino Pro Mini
  5. Light Sensor
  6. Light bulb
  7. LED strand

I am planning to order all supplies this weekend to give myself time for assembly. Supplies should arrive by next week some time.

Concept Proposal- Lauren Getz

Coming up with an idea for this project was really difficult for me. When it comes to art, I always struggle with feeling too cliche, too predictable, or too overdone. Light art is a completely new area for me so researching all the options and history behind it left me feeling overwhelmed.

I decided to bring it back to basics. What do I think of when I think of light? I think of the French phrase “Fermez la Lumière” which directly translates to “Close the light” but is used colloquially as a means to say “Turn off the light.”

Further exploring this idea of closing lights, it made me think about the night sky. A wondrous source of natural light which is often a unique sight of beauty to behold.  This made me think of how light can have a negative effect by washing out other sources of light, specifically light pollution.

Being an avid fan of hiking and the outdoors, I often find Worcester a bit stifling to not be able to look up at night and always see a clear sky of stars.

This is an example of what I wish I was seeing every night.

This is an example of how light pollution varies the further you get away from cities.

This picture of an old fashioned camera exemplifies what I would like to accomplish by putting a very dark piece of cloth over the viewer of the art to totally immerse themselves in in the light. Ideally, the cloth will be covering a large box which will be painted to look like the night sky.

An example of what a side of the box would be, except it would be painted to look like stars with twinkling LED’s.

In each of the painted bright stars will be a twinkling LED light. However, in the center of the box will be an additional light source, most likely a light bulb. This light bulb represents the light pollution  in the sense that when that light is on, you won’t be able to notice the beauty of the stars. It will mostly likely even be uncomfortable for the viewer. The light source will either be on a dimmer or with some sort of switch set up so that the view is able to see how the starts visibility increases with each increment.  Possibly something more mechanical to be covering the light source, but at this point I think a dimmer makes the most sense.

This will encourage the viewer to “close the light” more often in order to reduce light pollution and create a more visible night sky for everyone.


Jenny Holzer

Jenny Holzer is an American artist best known for her work with LED displays and large scale text projections. Her work has been displayed globally and often portrays and political theme current with the social environment at the time of the exhibition.

This is a picture of Kurt Cobain standing in front of one of Jenny’s early displays. The theme of utilizing common advertising space for he work is what inspired her to experiment with LED’s based on how prevalent LED signs had become in advertising.  This brought a sense of contemporary familiarity  to her work which drew in people’s attention just as advertisements do.

Her early work included a list of what she described as “Truisms” or quite simply just short statements. These were simple phrases which resonated personally and politically with people. Often these phrases ended up on shirts, stickers, and even condoms. An example of some of her many truisms include:

“Abuse of Power Comes as No Surprise”

“A Lot of Professionals Are Crackpots”

“Boredom Makes You Do Crazy Things”

This is a 535-foot-long sign in the Gutenberg displaying Holzer’s Inflammatory Essays, the follow-up series to Truisms, which featured whole paragraphs of text, centering on taboo subjects. Jenny made us of the already existing architecture in the room to fully display her designs and create an additional element. 

An additional example of her work with LED’s exemplifying the motion with the shape of the LED strip she uses.

An example of one of her “Truisms” displayed in the corner of a room utilizing the shadows and angles to create a feeling of darkness.  The light being emitted from the LED’s creates they’re own shadows and the angles and which they are displayed dictates where the shadow will fade in with the rest of the room.

Holzer is also famous for her projections onto various buildings and architectural landmarks. Her work has been displayed from NYC to Europe and everywhere in between. These works are most often political relating to a current ongoing issue in society. Below is a video of Jenny discussing her work with projections.


This is one of her projections onto one of the Guggenheim buildings. She talks about how when she sets up a projection she can predict some reflections from windows and rivers, but you never really know exactly where the light and shadows will fall.

This is a piece in Washington related to the war in Iraq. Holzer often wrote politcal statements in public statements to raise awareness for causes such as war, hunger, and disease. Jenny is a master at using her voice in her art to combat the wrong she sees in the world, and utilizing light art brings a modernized mechanical twist which is highly enjoyed by her audience.

Lauren Getz- Introduction and Portfolio

Hello world! My name is Lauren and I am a senior studying electrical and computer engineering.

Art has always been something I wish I was better at, I spent my childhood tracing drawings of my favorite characters because I could never produce something I thought was good enough. In highschool I took art and learned the basics of drawing and painting which elevated my art skills from “what is that awkward stain on that piece of paper, oh you painted that?” to a solid “maybe it’s bad art, or maybe it’s just abstract.” In college I have continued to pursue art because I find it interesting and unique and have come to use it as an escape from the overly tech driven nature of campus.

I grew up in a family of electrical engineers so I spent 16 years of my life avoiding programming and electronics in order to be the unique and different one. Obviously that didn’t work out for me as programming and electronics are actually really cool and my senior year of highschool I was able to take a programming class in addition to an engineering design class which lead me here to WPI to study ECE.

My most passionate creative art is comedy. I’m obsessed with making other people laugh, especially when it’s at my own expense. I enjoy writing material for my stand up set, and have begun dabbling in skit writing and monolouge jokes. Ideally, I’d like to pursue a career in comedy, but if that doesn’t work out at least I have engineering to fall back on.

My creative inspirations come from my comedy idols, two of which are Bo Burnham and Kate McKinnon. Artisitcally I’ve always enjoyed modern art, Jackson Pollock especially. The idea that art is about the process and not just the ending result really ressonates with me. Degas also inspires me, mostly because I had a short lived career in ballet from the ages of 5 to 6 and his work always reminds me of my childhood years.

Art fits into my goals of being able to express myself however I want. I often feel stifled by the engineering industry; business casual clothes, strict procedures, and formal launge in the work enviorment are all aspects of it I don’t particually enjoy. Art keeps me grounded and makes me feel as though I am still expressing myself in my truest nature.  Creating art, considering fashion, and buying art that makes me happy is how art fits into my long term goals.

My most recent project that I am most proud of is a product I designed with another group member for and ECE design class.

See above video for an informurcial I created for the product. We used an arduino mini connected to a temperature sensor to control blinds, i.e. if a room was too hot the blinds would close to conserve energy. We were also able to connect it to bluetooth so you could use your phone as a remote to control the blinds. Who wouldn’t want smart controlled blinds?

This is an example of a classic doodle, something that a much more skilled artist could acomplish in 5 minutes, but took me approximately an hour.

This past Christmas I decided to not buy any gifts for anyone, but instead make friends and family homemade custom pillowcases.  I have made a small business out of them and they are avalible for purchase based on your interests I can pickout comfy fabric and make you the best pillowcase ever. (Shameless plug).

This painting is titled Red Chair Watches as Storm Cloud Chases Happy Cloud I made this painting at a paint night, so creatively was not very adventurous however I did have a lot of fun doing it. Art is all about the process to me.  (Yes, I signed it LG Swag, I suppose I was feeling particularly cool that night).

This piece of art I like to call, Paint Night Deux as it was also completed at a paint night. I like to think the boat is sailing far far away to a place that knows how to properly paint shadows.

This is a political piece making a statement about our government. Not actually it’s just a sketch I drew trying to practice shadows (exhibit A the above painting), but it sounds much more important and art-like to call it a politcal piece.

This is called My Nose is Crooked, but so Are Your Politcal Views. Again, not actually. But once again that makes it seem like a much more skilled and important piece of work.


In summary:

My name is Lauren.

I’m not classically skilled at art.

I like to make people laugh.

Buy my pillowcases.