Why Being A Studio Art Major Has Proved To Be Important to Me

After countless hours occupying myself with this portrait last year, I stood five feet away intently examining my mess of lines and colors that somehow transformed into a being. I tilted my head to the side, then back, then the side again to match the tilt of her head. It resonated with me, while staring at this girl who only existed in my imagination, that just like her, people are layers you would never know existed unless you were the one who created them. From a distance the surface appeared smooth and evenly toned, an olive beige skin tone. But beneath! Beneath lay all the hours of work, all the exotic colors that had been blended into the surface colors, all the rough charcoal lines and mistakes and redos and transformations that translated the image in my head onto paper. And I thought by looking at her that she was the perfect metaphor for individualism. You never know what lies beneath the surface.

Artistic insight has set me aside from other people my age, but I have accepted that and embraced it with open arms. For a while I struggled to understand that different is not bad; I believe emphasis on “different” can lead to great things. Individuality has the power to call attention to the importance of diversity and is deserving of acknowledgment on at least a personal scale. My sophomore year of high school I elected to take Drawing and Painting class because I knew that I wanted to express my ideas: that individuality among like-minded people is something to strive for. Art was what made me an individual and has become a piece of who I identify as. I wanted my art to show that different never means lesser. Through discoveries in charcoal and oil paints, I explored the impact creating art would have on my life. 

I worked hard all year leading up to the final project--one with which I knew I could really do something. I enhanced my portrait with every stroke of the pastel, from fuchsia to cobalt. I layered on the colors class after class, creating vivid contrast clarifying every value, and I persisted until I could reach near perfection. A light illuminated subtly from within her eyes, hopefulness flattered her full lips, rose budded beneath the surface of her cheeks, and an unconventional ability to evoke an ambiance of curiosity when all the aspects were put together. I was not aware this ability lie dormant inside me until I let my subconscious mind take control of my Conte Crayons. I had found my place in art.

From then on, I have pursued art in and out of school at UVM, and I put my thoughts into pictures that I hope can be understood by others. A single portrait lead me down a path of self discovery, and left a lasting impact on my confidence as an artist. Art was the missing puzzle piece to my individual identity that I was not aware was missing until I prioritized it. I now have the confidence and drive to step outside my comfort zone in art. Pens, acrylics, oils, pastels, graphite, watercolor, I don’t care as long as I am creating something that holds emotion in it. This class, and other classes I have attended at MassArt and now at UVM, have expanded my view of my own abilities because I have found something I am truly passionate about that changed the way I see myself. Deciding to be a Studio Art Major has only had positive impacts on my life thus far. It has motivated me to become a creator, and to constantly keep improving because there is no limit to what the mind can transfer to paper. I found an ability to embrace the beauty of my differences as an individual and realized the necessity of individualism.