AP Art of the Week

Spotlight on Artist Sophie Kamdar

The Elective’s digital art museum this week features a sculpture made by Sophie Kamdar from Canyon Crest Academy in San Diego, California.

Welcome to The Elective’s digital art museum, dedicated to the incredible work of AP Arts students. Each week we highlight a work or series created in one of the AP Arts concentrationsAP 2-D Art and Design, 3-D Art and Design, and AP Drawing (the AP Program also offers Art History and Music Theory)—as well as a statement from the artist (and, occasionally, their teacher).

From the first cave paintings to contemporary breakthroughs in virtually reality, art, in all its forms, has been a crucial way for people to process, make sense of, comment on, and grapple with the world around them. After more than a year of life in a pandemic, AP Art students have risen to the challenge of processing and making sense of the challenges—and opportunities—that have come from this perilous time. The work they submitted in their final portfolios is explicitly of the moment. It’s often challenging and provocative, but always insightful, inspiring, and expansive.

This week we feature a sculpture made by Sophie Kamdar from Canyon Crest Academy in San Diego, California.

photograph of a pair of black Converse sneaker with a second black Converse sneaker stitched into it from the middle so it appears that a pair of shoes, pointing in the wrong directions, is one shoe

Here’s Sophie’s statement on the work:

“My AP 3-D Art and Design teacher prompted my class to create a few experimental works based on an element or principle of art and design. I chose to focus on texture and sculpted a polymer model of a highly detailed tumor cell. This experimentation, coupled with my interest in biology, inspired me to explore the junction of art and science.

“I chose to work with a shoe as my canvas because of how closely related shoes are to the human body. The shoes that we wear every day become extensions of our bodies. I imagined a shoe coming to life, its laces, fabric, and grommets now the cellular structures of a living organism. In this shoe creature, I questioned what its biological failures would look like. How would tumors, mutations, and genetic irregularities manifest themselves in this inanimate object? Often these abnormalities are viewed from a purely scientific lens, so my work sought to understand them from a different perspective: the artistic.

“I initially imagined a microscopic view of the individual sections that make up a shoe. I sketched images of tumor cells and anatomical mutations for inspiration and experimented by sculpting these in clay and polymer. With these materials, I made a shoelace with a pom-pom tumor, a mutated three-pronged shoelace, and a tumor growing through the shoe's logo. I then zoomed out from this microscopic lens to show the later stages of tumor development. This perspective change led me to create the fully mutated double shoe.”

And here are a couple other works from Sophie’s portfolio:

photo of the back of a black Converse sneaker, its heel raised off the ground, with a pink sculpture on the heel that resembles used chewing gum sticking from the ground to the shoe

I wanted to turn a piece of bubble gum into a tumor, invading the shoe from the sole to the canvas. Nail as the base. Covered with pink wool and polymer to create metastases growing out of the shoe.

wood-colored sculpture of a cellular-looking orb with tendrils coming from it to attach to the base of the sculpture

I visualized a tumor cell growing new blood vessels. This process enables tumors to spread. Created a tape core, covered it in flesh-colored polymer, and used sculpting tools to create texture.

Student statements are lightly edited for length and clarity.