#DreadedDecember: My First Exhibition

20 Dec

As long as I have been producing art, I have always done it for myself. I usually refrain from showing my work off because I like to simply enjoy it for myself and I am critical of it. Earlier this semester in my sculpture class, my instructor informed us that our final project includes our entire class putting on a show. When I heard this, I instantly got terrified. I have never had my work put on display before and I wasn’t excited when I heard that it was a mandatory event.

IMG_5054.jpgOur final project was based on any issue that we felt passionate about and to create a project around it. I am very interested in sustainability and the environment, so I decided to take the horrible act of poaching my favorite animal elephants and put in into a project. My goal was to remind the viewers about this issue and hopefully encourage them to look deeper into the issue. I decided to sculpt two four-foot tusks out of basswood and place them on a gun rack that I made out of plywood. On the tusks, I decided to place bludgeoned watermelons on the top of each tusk. All of these components relate to the horrific and brutal ways that poachers kill elephants and take their tusks.

As time was starting to approach the December 3rd deadline, pressure slowly came along with it. I wanted to make sure my project was absolutely perfect, so I would work through the entire class period and would go in after class to make sure that I was on track and prepared to show my tusks. After a long, stressful month of working on this project, the show was coming up and I was completely stressed out. I was worried that no one would understand or like the piece that I had been working on for months. It also didn’t help that everyone in my class has amazing sculpted pieces that I kept comparing my work to.

It was the night of the show and I was on my way to the gallery for set-up. On the ride over, I had butterflies in my stomach and as I was setting up my gun rack on the wall, my hands were shaking. I stepped back after my set up complete to look at my work and all of my shakes and fear went away. Having my piece finally finished after a ton of hours sculpting sanding, all of the blisters, and hand massages, I felt good and proud about it. It also helped that my colleagues were amazed by how the piece turned out and the fleshy, gross aspect of the watermelons.

At the beginning of the show, my boyfriend Casey showed up and was in awe of the work and effort that I put into my work. Soon after that, my entire family showed up and also showed the same pride I did towards my work. Throughout the night I had people come up to me and ask about my work. To my surprise, they were so interested in my process and everything I had to say. I even got the compliment of, “stay in sculpture, that’s where you belong.” This was a chaotic moment for me because I like to be in the background. I never knew that my work would be praised and loved by anyone other than my family and friends. It was an amazing night that I will remember because I put myself and my work on display for the first time. It made me realize that I am in the right place and maybe one day I’ll put on one of my own shows.



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