Friday, January 2, 2015

My Art Project - The Serbian Box

I made a very special present for my best friend, for an anniversary. Since he is from Serbia, I chose to base my design on the Serbian flag, which features a coat of arms on a background of red, blue and white stripes. I used a box that he actually gave me for my birthday that had chocolates in it. It's a white box with a red stripe around the side, so the colors are already perfect.

In the first picture, you can see that I have already drawn the coat of arms from the flag, and I am in the process of coloring it--the red and blue parts are done, but it still needs the yellow parts. Also in the picture, you can see some red and blue papers, and I am going to use these to make the stripes.

In this photo, you can see that I have taken the red paper and blue paper that I said I was going to use to make the stripes of the Serbian flag on the box. I marked the lid of the box into three equal parts, and then used the decoupage technique, in which I painted a clear liquid glue / lacquer over the paper to adhere it to the box and also to coat it with a clear, shiny finish.

But I didn't want to just make plain stripes. Using paint samples, I selected red colors that were similar to the red that I wanted but slightly different shades. I cut them up with scissors into small pieces of varying shapes, and then I used more glue to stick them down and coat them. As you can see in this picture, the red stripe is complete. It looks like a mosaic, but just using paper and glue instead of using tiles and grout.

For the white stripe, I knew white paper wouldn't be enough of a contrast with a white background, so to make it more of a nod to actual mosaic work, I painted the stripe a light grey color that looks a bit like grout, and then I did the pieces in white. There are slight variations in the tones of white, as well. I wanted the colors to vary a little to make it more like the random broken tiles used in mosaic, but not TOO much, because I also wanted to preserve the integrity of the flag's colors and design.

I really enjoyed working on this, and especially using the "paper mosaic" technique, which I thought up several years ago when I received several books of paint samples and was thinking about how to use them. I only just this past year got around to doing it!

 After I finished the stripes, I went back to the crest and crown that I had drawn and colored in, and I carefully cut them out and placed them on top of the stripes, situated just like it is on the flag of Serbia.

It created a nice three-dimensional effect, with the base color on the surface of the box, and then the paper "tiles" on top of that, and the crest on top of that. I glued the crest and crown in place and sprayed everything with a coating of clear gloss protector. The box had become surprisingly heavier with all those layers, even though they were just paper!

I think the finished product turned out really well, and when I gave it to my friend, he loved it! He just couldn't stop looking at it the whole time, and he showed it to his friends and family, and they like it, too. As a gift, it was very successful, and as an art project, it was wonderfully fun to do and came out as I'd hoped. It was my first time trying this technique, and I'm looking forward to doing more work in this way.

Images are my own photos of my original work. Click to enlarge! 

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