Dig Deep, a typographic installation created by MFA candidate Cassie Hester, is a study in the power of simplicity. Installed on the exterior wall of the Pollak Building, a design facility on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., the 16- by 4-foot typographic installation consists of two sheets of 4- by 8-foot treated birch plywood, three coats of white high-gloss outdoor paint, 500 plastic straws, 8,064 pilot holes, 8,064 nails, and pink and white outdoor sequins.
Hester created a one-inch grid with nails that hold at least one sequin and a clear plastic buffer between the sequin and the board. The nails that comprise the typographic message feature two sequins: a white sequin facing the viewer and a pink sequin facing the board. Reflected light creates the sprawling message.
Individuals interact with the piece by viewing it from afar and coming in close to analyze the detail. On windy days, it is not uncommon to see people pause and observe the piece for a moment in their rush to and from classes. On days lacking wind, passersby often blow on the surface or fan the piece with their arms, causing the discs to flutter and form a living surface. The shimmering piece is meditative and uplifting, revealing traits and secrets through reflective conversations. Hester designed it as a pleasurable, everyday companion for the people coming in and out of the building.
“I love the weightlessness and calm of this piece. It creates a moment where you can just lose yourself in the beauty of the movement. A breath of fresh air.”
"There are moments that remind us who we are and bring a moment of solitude that might calm us before we are scrambling yet again. The fact that this is a student project makes it even more impressive. I am so thankful she left us this powerful souvenir of her effort, and in turn became our teacher.”
“When the wind blew in the video I knew it was a winner. Sometimes ideas are so simple and so right it is obvious. However when we looked at the detail of how it was made, we knew it was even more successful. It occupies an understated and perfectly proportioned location on the brick wall that also seems to be perfectly scaled to that courtyard. Brilliant idea.”
“Who knew nails and sequins could be beautiful?”
Rab McClure (installation and assistance); Sara Al Falah, Daniel Cole, and Sarah Weber (installation assistance); Roy McKelvey, Sandra Wheeler, and Rab McClure (thesis committee)
Cassie Hester, Bradley Brown, Westley Hester, Riley Hester, Micah Hester, and Rick Hester (fabrication); Radiant Manufacturing (sequins)