Tear of Illian is a sculpture created by local artist Scott Strayer and gifted to USC Upstate in 2019. Strayer received a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Georgia Southern University in 1990 and a Master of Fine Arts at Georgia State University in 1992. His free-standing metal sculptures are typically crafted out of aluminum and over human height. Tear of Illian was created in 2010 and donated to USC Upstate along with another work entitled “Annulus”. Strayer welds stainless steel and cylindrical aluminum bar stock to craft Tear of Illian. Bar stock is used in manufacturing and is a raw, purified form of metal. Strader favors steel in most of his sculptures, but the rounded, organic design of Tear of Illian is intended to contrast the sharp, industrious form of the metal. Strader’s energy is visible in his welding and the sloping contours of the separate bodies on the Tear of Illian. The dynamism creates curiosity about the artistic approach used to construct the sculpture. The sculpture can be divided into three assembled parts. These parts include the tear-shaped form that makes up the majority of the sculpture, a rounded base, and a “v” shaped hinge that connects the two. The “tear” takes up more than half of the height of the sculpture. The tear is pointed at the top and slowly widens and rounds out the bottom. The front and back of the form have linear symmetry, excluding additional aluminum pieces that are welded to frame the tear shape. The top of the beveled, aluminum frames mimic the sharp point of the tears silhouette, widening in the middle and coming to a point again at the bottom half of the tear. The width of the sculpture is visible from a side point of view and have the same composition on the left and right. The thickness varies throughout, noticeably swelling at the bottom and reaching a thin arc at the top. In profile, the tear curves inward on either side of the sculpture and is tilted skyward. This curve creates a line of action that gives the sculpture movement. Strayer states the composition of the sculpture is inspired by a series of fantasy novels called “The Wheel of Time” written by Robert Jordan. The design is intended to resemble a drop of water on a jewel. But he also maintains that the subject is not the focal point of his sculptures. This mentality is seen in the process art, favoring the experience and action of creation over formal art elements. The process of crafting is more important than the compositional idea. Strader discusses the construction of his sculptures as a learning process, seeing how the form develops by using new methods of constructing and forming metalworks. Each sculpture delivers a new challenge to overcome and Strayer’s success is apparent. The meticulous welding and combination of curvature and sharp angles creates a work of art that is otherworldly.