Forging Forward

Angela Huang

December 6th, 2023

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Genre/Medium: Digital Art (Clip Studio Paint)

About the work: How do ancient narratives map onto our world today? The myth of Psyche from 2nd-century novel Metamorphoses is the inspiration behind countless spin-off stories, art pieces, and one very massive metallic asteroid—16-Psyche. My goal with this piece was to map the Psyche and Eros mythological characters in a moment within her story over the current mission of the Psyche satellite sent to orbit the 16-Psyche asteroid, with my own views and beliefs mapped onto traditional depictions in the piece’s composition and execution. Reading Psyche’s story, I was struck by how much she had to go through and how much she chose to go through to prove herself. She undertakes four major tasks even knowing that the odds are heavily stacked against her to earn cruel Aphrodite’s forgiveness. And yet, in all the major classical artwork of Psyche I have viewed, Psyche is depicted very traditionally on the arm of or laying at the feet of a gallant, male Eros. This art piece is inspired by Antonio Canova’s “Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss” and depicts Psyche after completing her second task—to shear the golden fleece off of dangerously violent rams—forging forward with shears and lamp in hand and fleece on her back to her third. I started this piece by looking at how I could play off of Canova’s composition in a way that reflects my own view of Psyche’s narrative. I made a very deliberate choice in placing Psyche at the center of focus compositionally, similar to how she is truly at the center of her myth and her asteroid at the center of the NASA-JPL-ASU-Maxar satellite science mission, and making all of my design decisions around her. This included the placement of Eros, who is mapped over the satellite with solar panels for wings to visually indicate Eros’s orbit around Psyche. I was also deliberate in my choice of color, using warm rock and metallic tones and textures for Psyche to emphasize her centrality (the large golden fleece draped across her back and making up the upper-left half of the asteroid is textured with a photo I took from Red Rock Canyon in Nevada), and using cool shadow tones for Eros to further visually link them to a satellite in space. (Fun fact: I placed the Andromeda constellation within the piece where I thought it would add some extra meaning, see if you can find it!)

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Date Added: 12-04-2023
Credit: Angela Huang

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