Arts & Entertainment

Size & Scale

Jeff Koons

Lesson time 11:04 min

Learn how the transformation of scale can change the meaning of an object or piece of art.

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Topics include: Transform Scale to Communicate Meaning · Puppy Case Study: Communicating Colossal Ideas · Balloon Venus Case Study: Scaling Sophisticated Forms


[MUSIC PLAYING] - Plato would always say, in thinking about art, the first thing that you have to deal with is scale. Size is the first thing. And once you deal with size, then you can go on to the next part of the creation of the work. And it's true. I mean, when you have an idea, I mean, how big do you want to make that? If we think of scale, we can think of the size of our home. We can think of whether we like to drive a large car or a small car, whether we eat a large bowl of cereal or a small bowl of cereal. An idea doesn't have to be any size. Just because you're, you know, maybe having an audience or you want to have an audience doesn't mean that you have to have something big. I've made a piece small, like "Doctor's Delight." It's only a couple inches tall. And that work for me is as relevant as one of my large-scale pieces. I'm working on a piece called "Train" that's going to be 166 feet tall. Everything defines what it wants to be by the basis of its idea. And it will tell you what it wants to be. You always have to trust in your intuition. And if something's telling you, you know, this feels kind of comfortable in this range, this feels pretty good, that's where it should be. [MUSIC PLAYING] There's a certain scale that we think of ourselves as human, and so this comes into play. If we get above that size or get below a certain size, it takes on a different meaning. What is this? Is it a toy that it's so small? Or if it's really large, is this a monument? Is this architecture? You know, is this public art? Or is it just outdoor work? So scale is really important. In making some of my monumental sculptures, these large pieces, I was thinking back to some of the wonders of the world, thinking about some of these very large, colossal pieces. Because when you're dealing in a public space, a public arena, scale's very important. Otherwise an image or an object can be overlooked quite easily. Look at the scale of advertising. Look at the scale of architecture. Look at the scale of signage. It's large to be able to get the attention of people going by. If we look at the Statue of Liberty that's in New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty has a direct reference in relation to the Colossus of Rhodes-- very, very similar sculptures. The Colossus of Rhodes had an arm outreached. It had a torch, you know. It was right there at the harbor-- many similarities that go back and forth. And so my work too, also in making the bouquet of tulips, very large-scale piece, is making reference to not only the Statue of Liberty, but also it would have to go back to the Colossus of Rhodes. Scale, a lot of times, makes reference to things that are created by a community and not just an individual. You know, we can look at architecture. You can look at the size of large Corinthian columns, and they're massive. And look at ancient structures. Look at the pyramids. And these are works that are about the community, or they'r...

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.

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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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