Intent: A big part of high school is about self-expression. Being a teenager, we are all trying to learn who we are and how to express that. With all the expectations from today’s society, everyone faces some sort of challenge when deciding how they can and can’t be themselves. For my AP portfolio, I tried to capture the struggle between expectations for conformity and finding a sense of self. Even more, I explored what it means to be feminine in a world that tries to box in what is ‘ladylike.’ In my art, I’ve explored the frustration of growing into yourself while also dealing with the expectations of others.

 

Coronation: In this piece, I wanted to bring in the idea of a man expressing femininity. Qualities and emotions that are labeled ‘feminine’ should not only apply to women. Men are often discouraged from talking about their feelings, crying, and expressing themselves through style. For this piece, I wanted to hand over the crown to people other than women to be able to freely express their more feminine qualities. I used watercolors, decorative paper, fabric, string, and seashells as mediums in this collage. Bringing out mediums that stand out a little more in the fabric and shells, I wanted to show the role that materialism plays in identity. There is so much controversy as to what certain people can and can’t wear, but at the end of the day, it is only material. Fighting against the expectations that fall in line with gender roles, we are working towards a world where anyone can be free to express themselves through style however they want. When I went to create this piece, I drew inspiration from the judgment that my friends, myself, and high schoolers as a whole have experienced on the way to self-discovery. At the heart of this collage is my desire to create a safe space for everyone to be unapologetically themselves.

 

Silence in the Enchanted Forest: My medium in this piece was gouache paint. I started by thinking back on how I felt about womanhood as a child. Everything seemed so romantic. Now that I’m older, I know that it’s more of a fight than a fairytale. Your prince will not come to save you and if you aren’t careful, you may end up lost in the woods. In my forest, I hinted at some struggles of the modern-day woman. Vines, flowers, and butterflies are symbols of the fertility that women hold, but there are also the oppressors in this painting. There is a beauty to this kind of battle. Sometimes it can feel like our own feminine strengths are the things that are holding us back. It doesn’t have to be this way, but it takes a good amount of growth to learn your way of expressing your own femininity. To portray this to the best of my ability, I wanted to use my color scheme to set the mood. Using purples, blues, and pinks, I tried to create a moody yet dreamy feeling. At first glance, it might seem to be a pretty picture, but looking closer you can see that something is off. There is a subtlety to this suffering. As a woman, I often find myself trying to deal with issues alone and without letting it show. With that being said, none of the women in this piece notice each other. They are all trying to make it through taking care of themselves. That in itself is partly a problem. If we all came together, it would be much easier to overcome these obstacles. There is always room for growth and finding community is the next step. I recently learned how alike we all are in this world, whether you want to admit that or not. There are more people dealing with the same problems as me than I realized. I just need to turn around and find the other people in the forest.

 

Thank you!

Brianna B.