During the creation of this work, I identified and acquired various contemporary objects relating to branding, consumerism, and fads. Through a process of artificial aging, ranging from abrading, cutting, and sandblasting to burying them in soil and chemical treatments of bleach, salt and ammonia, I made the objects appear as if they had been removed from an archeological site after centuries under ground. I incorporated these apparently ancient contemporary consumer items into new compositions using mostly silver and aluminum. These new objects are created using traditional metal-smithing techniques and bearing a resemblance to classicism in form as well. The designs reference ritual objects from a variety of world cultural and religious traditions combined with a retro-futurism science fiction aesthetic. By combining these new items that look old with fine metalwork that is classical but looks new I am creating an ambiguity of time, place, and tradition in order to transport the observer into a viewpoint that forces questioning of our own place in history. Like all science fiction literature or film, I am using the past and future to speak about contemporary issues. What I am interested in exploring is the functions and purpose of myth, ritual, and religion in past culture systems and identifying, in our modern world of science and reason that has been for centuries becoming increasingly secular, how it is that we have managed to fill the void created by the absence of the old rules. Whatever one chooses to call it, whether it is myth or ritual or religion, it has served an important functional role in the growth and sustainability of all cultural systems. These belief structures provided our ancestors (and many people still today) with a level of perceived objectivity, social cohesion and cooperation, order, stability, hierarchies, and a way to guide the members of cultural systems through the turmoil of birth, the pains of growing, the tension of adulthood, and finally through the mystery of death. What I am interested in identifying is what it is in our modern, secular cultural system that has filled the void created by secularization and replaced the old mechanism with new to provide similar functions. Through the process of ideation and creation of this body of work the major system I have identified as filling the role played previously by myth is that of consumerism, capitalism, and wealth. This question of the new mythic structure in the modern world is not a new question and I am not the first person to identify capitalism and its bi-products as filling this role, but through this body of work and its method of display I aim to bring the concept to a more literal and digestible examination.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Art metal-work--Themes, motives; Art metal-work--Technique; Metal sculpture--Themes, motives; Metal sculpture--Technique; Science fiction in art; Found objects (Art)

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Metals and Jewelry Design (MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

School for American Crafts (CAD)


Leonard Urso

Advisor/Committee Member

Juan Carlos Caballero-Perez

Advisor/Committee Member

John Aasp


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes