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Major: Illustration and Creative Writing
About the work: I really love making character designs, but I have not often worked with robots before. Because of that and the asteroid’s partly metal composition, I thought it would be fun to illustrate Psyche as a robotic character. I chose a humanoid and skeletal appearance due to Psyche’s possible nature as a protoplanet’s core, similar to the core found inside of Earth. Its color schemes and designs lean toward a steampunk aesthetic in reference to preexisting scientific images of Psyche and hypothesized colors of the asteroid, which are based off the metals and materials that may comprise it. I felt like Psyche’s hypothesized color scheme, oldness and derelict, and connection to the goddess of inspiration would lend itself well to the steampunk aesthetic. This aesthetic partakes in a science fiction sub-genre where, in a fictional 19th century, people had a steam-powered revolution, and they were inspired to create brassy, steam powered technology. I also tried to capture the look of the asteroid in the robot’s face: misshapen and seemingly possessing of a pair of lopsided eyes, large and full of wonder. A certain rusty, old, endearing charm. I hope you can see it too.
I was inspired to make a piece that would not only inspire the viewer to learn more about the Psyche mission, but to develop something the viewer had control over, allowing them to feel as if they were somehow part of it. Containing it in a wood box was inspired by the Ames room, though that’s as far as that concept is used. The idea behind it was to immerse the viewer in the space of the piece and watch how they control the stars. The way I chose to depict Psyche was so that the most detail of what the asteroid is believed to look like is communicated to the viewer. The image shows Psyche’s famous two craters, and it also shows the color change of the asteroid’s elemental makeup, along with other possible surface characteristics.