This September, San Diego-based designers Nicholas Pourfard and Michael Upton teamed up to present Earth-Cast, a temporary exhibition of earthcasted works, that opened during San Diego Design Week. Earth-Cast features a series of experimental earthcasted pieces by Pourfard and Upton that showcase the intersection between human creativity and the forces of nature, while highlighting the idea of artistic accessibility.

Drawing inspiration from time spent in Portugal and Oaxaca earlier this year, Pourfard and Upton’s collaboration is influenced by these two cultures with rich art traditions, who have historically used what was accessible to them in fascinating ways to create art. Building on this notion of accessibility, Pourfard and Upton chose to explore earthcasting as their medium - a process that requires only a place in the dirt to dig and a concrete-like mixture. It’s an art form anyone can do in their own backyard. The collaborative exhibition occupies the intimate space at Lang Books/Swish Projects and features a series of sculptural forms cast from designs dug in the ground in Pourfard’s backyard in North San Diego County. Working with organic soil and a custom concrete recipe Pourfard and Upton created during the process, they then utilized the natural materials around them to modify the textures of their castings - lining the dirt with palm leaves, bamboo, and wood.

The result is a series of sculptural pieces made in collaboration with the two designers and with nature. Pourfard and Upton attribute their interest in earthcasting to the surprises and surrender the process holds: “The earth influences the final form every single time in unexpected ways, creating textures and patterns all their own and that are impossible to fully control,” Pourfard and Upton shared. By creating art in the dirt from their own backyards, they hope to remove some of the exclusivity that can accompany art, and thereby remove the fear and doubt that can often block creativity – letting inspiration flow freely.