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Your Mental Health is Important. Your Art Isn't Just a Hobby. It's a Passion. // On Art, Social Validation, and Creation

16 December 2017

The Power & Strength in Silence.


Lately, I’ve been thinking about quietness and silence—two words synonymous at first glance but diverge the deeper the meanings are inspected.

I’m a huge advocate on speaking on what’s on one’s mind and standing up for my beliefs. The moment someone violates a value of mine, I’m immediately stand up, garner a stance, and ready to debate it out. Despite this being a momentous topic played in the media and something I want, being silent is a negative aspect, as if a person has nothing to contribute to a discussion or opinion on such a manner. However, this is not the tangent of silence I would like to discuss today.

I’ve lately had a renewed initiation into the world of silence and quiet after several weeks of bombarding voices, including friends who are getting into their dream schools (MIT! Yale! Colorado School of Mines! Washington University in St. Louis! Montana State! Harvard! A lot of these are full-rides or most tuition covered!), demands made by all the adult figures in my life to prep for life and exploration after high school, as well as the negative voices in my head screaming every time a multi-tiered tension physics problem emerges with various blocks moving as the system accelerates and the question demands to find the minimum acceleration force. There have been a ton of good emerging as well: ranting about life with others, sending snail mail to some friends, and getting cheered on as I tackled the book tree and tried to see my luck in choosing either a library or ARC.

I do have times where I retreat and try to bask in the alone time I have, but one of the things I’ve realized as I’ve entered this semester and just in growing up, in general, is the increments of that silent moments slowly decrease. Slowly, they become less and less and transform time where others are demand aspects demand for more of your attention, which is fine. It’s like a cup of tea—while enjoyable, sometimes it’s too diluted for a person to see a reflection, but instead of a reflection, there’s a lack of voice, and we have to fight to gain some of the time back. I’ve also raved on so much this year about the importance of self-care and taking care of your own mental health and almost underlying, stepping back and just expelling negative voices does come hand in hand.

Here are three other things I’ve learned about silence:

// While it’s good to have others help input opinions and while they should be taken into consideration, you’re making decisions that will affect you, so take the time to think hard to yourself as to the cumulative scope. This is something I’ve seen as I worked through most of my college apps. A lot of the choices going into consideration besides cost and location is, “Why do I want to apply here? Will this be a good fit for me? Should I double major or should I start off with this instead?” While some of you readers may not take the college route at all, there are a lot of areas also affected by this thought process as well. Kate Emmons, the author of The Blood Race, mentions in her q&a, the reason she refrained from continuing down the traditional publishing route was because of the lack of creative control she had with her novel.

// Enjoy the quiet moments—and honestly, you don’t have to share them all the time. Some of you older readers may remember my eighth-grade self, creating a blog post every single week about everything I did and ate, as well as the awkward details regarding my endeavors, but as junior and senior year passed, I felt less obliged to post more of these. Part of the reason was because most of my junior year dedicated itself to dance and volunteering at the library, where public photography is limited, and while I haven't gotten rid of them completely, I realized I reveled and appreciated these memories more when they're kept to myself. They haven't all entirely gone away just yet— second semester is bound to have more frequently life update posts.

// If the silence becomes too overbearing after some time, speak. Silence can be good to step back, but sometimes the voices in our heads become too overpowered and it's okay to say, "I Am Not Okay," just as Eve, Elle Storset, and myself have all recently admitted. I often resort to spending hours of texting friends, often for support and subject understanding (as they help me understand concepts that aren't as easily intuitive than others).

What do you think about silence? How has the remaining days of the semester been treating you? Also yearbook update: slowly making progress on turning it into a reality! Will be somewhat more done next week.

25 November 2017

Teen Art Council at the Museum? What I've Been Up To

Good morning, town! (Not pictured: me freezing in front of the entrance, forgetting where the side entrance was)

Walking along the busy streets! 

Or are they busy? Hmm...

Great news, everyone: I'm not dead! The reasons for my almost month long absence can be deduced as the usual status quo of school taking up most of my time, but while I was gone from the online world, my endeavors in the real world have taken quite an interesting turn all thanks to some events that transpired this past January.

Around the weekend of the Women's March, my brother and I decided to take a photography class at a museum in town. I remember pursuing on the museum's website and stumbling across a teen art council. The concept sounded amazing, working with other artists within a fifty mile radius and collaborating on projects towards the museum. The deadline for submissions into the program had surpassed, so I decided to table the opportunity until the upcoming school year rolled around. I entered into other programs, prepared my application, and fulfilled all of my requirements. There was an interview process involved with all of this, as a large application pool applied. The moment I got back from homecoming did I check my email and scheduled a time to interview the following week.

My experience with interviews have been lukewarm, since I had done them twice before: once, as a freshman who couldn't get the teen advisory board position at the library since I had been too young to drive, and twice, applying to Summit Media as an unpaid intern, although this one did not count as most of the interview was through email. Tuesday or Thursday afternoon, a car dropped me off and the interview process began.

The interview was not as daunting as I thought it would! The director of the program introduced herself, and we sat for twenty minutes discussing future plans after high school, alongside the various art forms we both immersed ourselves in and were willing to try out. It was mostly the two of us in the middle of the forum, flailing over the displays and referring to one another as "young grasshopper." I got thrown off for a bit because the director seemed a lot like Abbiee (by the way she talks and addresses everyone), so for the first several minutes I was thrown into a loop. The only part I worried over was the interviewer scribbling down some notes onto her clipboard, but it's common procedure, I suppose.

OPEN STUDIO SPACE! Whoo!

An image within an image within an image?

We have to just do two.

Why not try three? Why not go any further and try... Nine?

After the interview, I didn't hear back. 

I waited.

And waited some more.

I waited for two weeks, and I started to get a bit anxious that I didn't get in-- however, after emailing to check things back, it was official that I got in! There were three other Abby's in the program, and emailing all three of us got rather confusing.

A slight disclaimer: most of my art revolves around writing, alongside performance art, and while I've divulged into the visual arts, it's not a strong suit of mine. So, once we were instructed during one of our meetings that we would draw in pen and use a water brush for blending, the words somewhat mushed together. I tried my best to draw the birds in the museum the best I could, but they ended up looking discombobulated with strange proportions and awkward shading pages. Everyone else had gorgeous etches and discussed the properties of coquille paper so eloquently, it was hard to keep up. I remember leaving the first meeting feeling incredibly curious but also very daunted.

One of (three) pianos in the space. They've been played so much, some of the exterior white coating chipped off. They're also VERY out of tune.

I don't really know what the exhibit was for this piece, but it had something to do with a revisit of childhood, as much as I can tell...

Are those, gasp, CD-ROMS? Why yes, yes they are.

Old stage lights!

When I returned, however, our class got introduced to the neatest thing by a guest artist: fractals. Fractals are images that are constantly on repeat, such as a room surrounded by mirrors; the image never ceases. As probably guessed from the above images, we stacked old Mac computers on top of each other, and, through a series of wires and cameras, allowed for the images to produce on the screens. It was hilarious, as the director stepped in front of the projector and danced around.

"Hey!" I screamed. "This isn't a music video!"

"Or is it?" she replies. The room we were in, a large open studio in the middle of an art mall (yes, such a thing exists) was wide open and almost empty except for the stacks of miscellaneous theatre items from an art house I used to work with. The guest artist and the director let us traverse through the piles to discover items from three out of tune pianos all the way down to bicycles with a buggy and a radio attached to the front. Note to self: never honk the bicycle horn really loud unless you want everyone's attention on you.

What could a buggy be doing down here? None of us were really sure...

Radio on a bike? #thenewfuture

SO MANY CHAIRS.

"Did the Narnian lamp post get uprooted again?"

GRAFFITI ART.

Hawkins Middle AV, jealous, perhaps?

Cash register ft. miniature sticky notes inside the buttons.

You got to "C" all of these "CDs!" Gosh, that was such a cringey pun...

More open spaces.

Hello, ancient Apple computer I haven't used since elementary.

Childhood exhibition, part two?

Immerse yourself in art.

After returning back to the museum, our group huddled inside the auditorium and learned about how to set up fractals digitally through a long-haul coding process. One funny thing that happened was when the guest artist asked everyone what images they wanted as a fractal overlay, and everyone screamed to go with Tiny Kitchen videos. And I kid you not, a fractal featuring a Tiny Kitchen video on how to make lasagna projected itself onto the board.

The next meeting isn't for another month, which I'm absolutely heartbroken over, but several events, such as an local and state film festival are taking place, but I'm incredibly excited to see what happens next! As long as I don't have too much paint on my clothes...

Projector fractals!

Oh, we did more than just using triangle shapes for these... although they awfully remind one of the 
Triforce.

Projector lights just because.

Isn't the museum hallway pretty?

Aren't fractals pretty? If you were under the tutelage of the museum, what kinds of art forms would you like to explore? Have you ever done interviews (and are they scary? Or not)? Let me know in the comments below!