Childhood Dream of Albert Einstein
by Karen Rose for Build A Dream (2014)
An inflated balloon was used as a cast to create the “balloon head” seen on the project. The plaster cloth wrap was wrapped around the balloon, and when dry, the real balloon was removed from the center. The balloon head was then painted with acrylic paint. The galaxy spiral shaped eye and atomic eye were glued onto the “balloon head” and made from the aluminum wire form with the use of pliers. Holding the “atom” that protrudes from the left eye is a spring from the wooden mannequin that was disassembled. The “telescope nose” was made using the Styrofoam rod that was formed using a small Dremel file, painted with acrylic paint and glued to the “face.” The rope at the base of the “balloon head” was created by layering the plaster cloth wrap around a piece of the wire, and formed around the base of the “balloon head” while it was still damp, and glued into place. The “string” coming from that rope is only plaster cloth wrap that was rolled while still wet. When dry, it was wrapped around a mathematical infinity symbol shaped “bow tie” that was made from the aluminum wire and painted and then glued to the “rope” at the base of the “balloon head.” The “graduation cap” that the “balloon head” is wearing was cut from the box the supplies were sent in, and painted on both sides with acrylic paint, with the underside “sky” getting texture from peeling the first layer from the cardboard. A portion of the top of the “balloon head” was removed and exposes a “brain” painted gray with acrylic paint that was originally part of the natural sea sponge. The removed portion of the “skull” rests on the cap itself. A “tassel” was glue inside of the “head” and comes out of the brain. It is made from the nylon thread with half of the threads being colored with a marker. The clip on the tassel is made from the plaster cloth wrap using a pencil as a form. The tag on the clip is also plaster cloth wrap attached by a piece of the nylon thread, that has the date “1879” (Einstein’s birth year) written in black marker. This is also resting on the cap. The two “stars” and “moon” are cut from the tempered hard board and painted with acrylic paint. They originate from the “brain” as well and hang over the “graduation cap” using the nylon thread so that the “telescope nose” can appear to be examining them. Attached by glue to the “balloon head is the novelty foam Van Gogh ear that has been colored using a marker. Coming out of the ear are the legs from the disassembled mannequin that were glued together to create their position, and left in natural color. The ear is resting on a ladder that was made from the basswood dowels and painted black; it was glued to the base of the ear for support of the “balloon head.” The “infinity symbol shaped rungs” of the ladder were made using the aluminum wire, painted with acrylic paint, and glued into place. The bottom of the ladder is resting on a silver star cut from the tempered hardboard and painted with acrylic paint over the wire mesh for texture that was removed after painting. The black disc that supports the star is the spool from the aluminum wire that is filled in using the modeling clay. The clay was painted black using acrylic paint and the “E=MC2” was made using the aluminum wire and was then pressed into the clay. The “building” that the “balloon head” appears to be rising above is actually the box that contained the wooden mannequin and is being used to support the “balloon head” and ground the scene to earth and civilization. The box was filled with enough modeling clay to give it weight to support and stabilize the balloon head. Then, the box was wrapped in the card stock paper that was glued on and painted black with acrylic paint. The “bricks” were made by cutting the packing peanuts in half the long way and then rolling them flat with a rolling pin. They were then cut to size with a Scripto knife and painted with acrylic paint. They were then glued to the outside of the box with a glue stick (Elmer’s glue caused them to degrade) in a brick formation. The “windows” were left black with some of the paint scratched off in those areas to create affect. A portion of the back of the “balloon head” was cut away so that it could rest on the top of the building and was securely glued into place.
Acrylic paint & brushes
Dremel – sander & fine drill bit
Aluminum wire & spool
Natural sea sponge
Card stock paper
Plaster cloth wrap
12” x 1” Styrofoam rod
Portions of the wooden mannequin
12” x .25” square basswood dowels
Novelty foam Van Gogh Ear
Corn starch biodegradable packing peanuts
Mystery box itself (the cardboard box)
My inspiration for this project was the opportunity to combine my two loves: science and surreal art. As a child I wanted to grow up and become a scientist as far back as I can remember, and at that time, Albert Einstein was the epitome of a scientist as well as science in general. The title of this work: A Childhood Dream of Albert Einstein illustrates how a child’s mind may meld the two in a dream. I hope you find it amusing as well as interesting.
How did you choose to use the theme: Build a Dream!
A dream is the perfect theater for a surreal composition as most dreams are nonsensical and people often dream of whatever has importance to them. I can easily imagine a childhood dream of Albert Einstein taking this form.
In this composition, I have tried to draw the viewer into the scene by creating interest that leads the viewer from one element to another. Initially, the balloon head draws the viewer into the scene, and further on to both the atomic eye and the spiral galaxy shaped eye, as well as the prominent telescope nose. From there, the viewer sees the moon and stars that the telescope appears to be observing. Following the flow, the eye is brought to the top of the graduation cap where there are further components of the dream: the exposed brain where ideas emanate and discovery originates. The tassel and clip with the Einstein’s birth year signifies Einstein’s relevance to this work. Moving around the sculpture, one sees the large ear attached to the balloon head. It appears that a person is trying to free itself from the head as a symbolic expression of future ideas and discoveries to come. From there, it appears that the man will be going down the ladder, stepping on the infinity symbol rungs onto the star that symbolizes man’s infinite quest for knowledge of the universe. The eye is then drawn to the support of the star, where Einstein’s revolutionary theory of relativity, E=MC2 can be found, additionally incorporating him into this work. Lastly, the building that supports the balloon connects the scene to earth and facilitates the impression that the balloon is rising into space.
All of these aspects are meant to work in unison to create a narrative illustrated through a child’s eye.