Drawing Machines: SunSketch

After seeing this machine that projected pure happiness on a wall go viral on social media, I knew I needed to have it. The sunset lamp, a contraption that supposedly “cures depression” for just $20, was instantly added to my Amazon cart, and thus ordered. Once it arrived in my arms, I felt as though a flame was lit within me. I was mesmerized by the uber-realistic sunsets this small contraption was able to project on the walls of my bedroom, and every time that lamp was on, I felt a magnificent sense of warmth, optimism, and creativity.

I decided to reconstruct my sunset lamp to create a drawing machine that would produce the same feelings the lamp produced for me: warmth, optimism, and creativity. In doing so, I took apart the whole lamp, using the prism-like structure in the center of my new machine, and using parts from the outer casing of the lamp around the prism to hold two colored pencils on both sides of the machine. The assembly process was a trial-and-error experience, but once I realized that hot glue was the answer to my equation, my newly repurposed machine was ready to be put to use.

When ready to be put into action, all that is required is a piece of paper to catch the drawings my machine will produce, and an “operator” that holds the machine and drags it across the paper. I, acting as the “operator,” often let my mind take control of where I dragged the machine on the paper, realizing that spontaneity made my drawings more interesting. Since the colored pencils I integrated into my machine were hot glued into the sides of the structure, I realized that once the pencils wore down to nothing, my machine would essentially be inoperative. This did not scare me, however, it further emphasized the initial goal of my machine: to produce feelings of warmth, optimism, and creativity.

This project is unique because it allows the artist to seriously consider what they are going to make, valuing each step of the process and not wasting a singular image, because as mentioned, there are just so many images that can be created with limited supplies, in this case, the colored pencils. This machine forces the artist to reflect on every drawing made and appreciate the creativity that is both reaffirmed and produced through this object. In a world where artists have so many chances to perfect their vision, this machine slows the artist’s mind down, confronting them with the need to value all aspects of their artistic journey equally, not just focus on the final destination.

Author: Zoe Kovac