Arts & Entertainment

Form Case Study: Balloon Dog

Jeff Koons

Lesson time 06:54 min

Using the construction of his iconic Balloon Dog as an example, Jeff illustrates how form can contain meaning.

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Topics include: Finding Meaning in Form


- Form is, within the world, the dimension that something takes; what its shape would be. We can have something that is completely flat, and that's the two dimensional. But then we have the three dimensional. And soon as we go into the three dimensional, we're dealing with form. You have organic form. You have nature. You have forms of mountains. And it's always changing too if you look at nature. When they'll talk about mountains crumble to the sea, it's always morphing and becoming something else. And I think that we're aware of that as individuals that life is always changing. The way we look at the world is always changing. The ideas we have today may be different than the ideas we have tomorrow. So if we're working, if we're creating something with form, there's a beauty also in it morphing and shifting. Certain artists love to manipulate the material and they follow the material. They could have a mound of clay in front of them, make it wet, make it malleable, and then just start manipulating it with no perceived intention. There's nothing that they actually at that moment want to make. But just through the experience of moving it, start to "oh, I kind of enjoy this. I enjoy this aspect of form. I like that curve. I like this edge." And they let it take them on a journey. That can be completely a wonderful, correct way. It's a perfect way. But then also another perfect way may be that somebody knows, "I want to make a perfect cube. And I have a wedge of clay here. I want to take a piece of wire here and I want to cut exactly here. And then I want to come on this side and cut exactly here. And I want to make a perfect cube." You can do anything. Because it's how that is being used by you to communicate to yourself and then how you're able to project that, hopefully to magnify that voice and be able to communicate these ideas with other people, and that they can magnify out in the world. I was always a painter, always studied painting. I moved to New York; started to play with sculpture by developing, working with readymade objects. But when I started to pick up sculpture it was something new to me. I didn't study sculpture. I didn't study form-making. So my ideas went from things that I would perceive in the world, readymades that were here preexisted. And then I started to take some of my readymades into more of an idea of what an object is. And I'm going to just show an example of what that is. And that would be when I got involved with starting to make some balloon animals. And this is an example of form. The balloon animal, as a readymade, it's really kind of an idea of what you would think of when you think of a birthday party or you think of a shaped animal that maybe a clown would make. I wanted to make something mythic. So I thought by making a large balloon dog that it'd be a little bit like a Trojan horse. It would carry an equestrian quality to it; something that had scale that was bigger than life,...

About the Instructor

One of the most important and influential artists working today, Jeff Koons is perhaps best known for his iconic Balloon Dog. Now he’s inviting you to an intimate, thought-provoking conversation about the history, purpose, and pleasures of art. Learn how color, scale, form, and texture can help you express ideas and communicate with others. Leave your self-judgment and fear behind—the world is waiting for your art.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons teaches you how color, scale, form, and more can help you channel your creativity and create the art that’s in you.

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