AP Art of the Week

Spotlight on Artist Foster Townsend

Welcome to The Elective’s digital art museum, dedicated to the incredible work of AP Arts students. This week we feature a cardboard sculpture made by Foster Townsend from Redondo Union High School in Redondo Beach, CA.

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).

In the past, we’ve spotlighted artists who had their work included in AP Art online exhibitions. But starting this week, we’re doing something a bit different. While the AP Art team finalizes the next online exhibition, The Elective will share some of the most engaging pieces created by AP Art students this year—because the art is as urgent as our times.

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. In 2020, there is a lot to process and grapple with—and AP Art students have risen to the challenge. The work many of them submitted in their final portfolios is explicitly of the moment, from commentary on the covid-19 pandemic to the celebration of people of color to the nature of heroism in perilous times.

The work is often challenging and provocative but always insightful, inspiring, and expansive.

This week we feature a cardboard sculpture made by Foster Townsend from Redondo Union High School in Redondo Beach, CA.

A miniature reproduction of a blue United States postal service mailbox

Here’s Foster’s statement on the work:

“How can I create miniatures that represent the familiar environment of the city? During my experimentation, I built sculptures out of cardboard and other found materials. While making these sculptures, I had to learn how to form cardboard in a way that looks realistic and is strong. It took me a long time to learn the ways of cardboard, but I used my understanding of wood and construction to revise my craft.

Cardboard is corrugated paper, and much like wood there is a direction of strength: one direction is strong, and one is weak. I had to learn to use this to my advantage to build strong realistic sculptures that wouldn't fall apart. The thing that took the most revising was proportions and aging when building the sculptures from reference photos. You can only see so much in a photo and it's hard to judge scale from photos.

When making my sculptures I tried to make them as accurate as I could. A lot of my work incorporates graffiti culture. Graffiti is an art form of style and creativity with an unspoken community of writers that gain inspiration from each other's expressions of work.”

Here are a few more pieces from Foster’s portfolio:

A miniature reproduction of a beat up yellow New York post newspaper box

A miniature reproduction of a beat up dumpster overflowing with trash bags

A miniature reproduction of a metal security gate pulled down in front of a loading dock with the word riot graffitied on the door

A miniature reproduction of a corner bodega with its security gate on and graffiti all over the building

A miniature reproduction of a plastic trash can with mops and brooms sticking out of it

Student statements are lightly edited for clarity.