The Project That Changed My Life | Teen Ink

The Project That Changed My Life MAG

September 4, 2022
By artistX SILVER, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
artistX SILVER, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
5 articles 17 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
“This is what love does. In the stories, love healed your wounds, fixed what was broken, allowed you to go on. But love wasn’t a spell, some kind of benediction to be whispered, a balm or a cure-all. It was a single, fragile thread, which grew stronger through connection, through shared hardship and trust.”
― Leigh Bardugo, Rule of Wolves

“A project that will simultaneously help our community while using your talents,” was my sixth-grade Capstone project assignment. This project was assigned to me during the 2020-21 school year, at the height of the pandemic. When I looked at the world around me, I knew my Capstone project would need to connect somehow to the pandemic. I just needed to figure out how and what I could do to help. After hours and hours of thought, I formed an idea. I couldn’t see my grandparents due to their health conditions and my parents’ concern about endangering their lives. For I have completed 19 portraits thus far, and I hope to continue this project as long as I can almost two whole years, my grandparents and I spoke on Zoom calls and over the phone; but I wasn’t alone. So many other families must have faced this same predicament, especially if a loved one was hospitalized or at an elderly home. Seeing family was extremely complicated. Art was the next component of my project. I started to love art during the pandemic, and I would dedicate hours each day to improving my techniques.

Therefore, I took my concern about families being separated and my love of art to form a project. I called it “Pandemic Portraits.” I emailed the elderly home down the street from my house and pitched my idea: I would draw residents' family members so they would feel close to them, and for the families, I would draw the residents. All I needed from the family was a photograph and, most importantly, a paragraph describing the person I was to be drawing. The description of the family member helped me really capture the person’s essence. I have completed 19 portraits thus far and I hope to continue this project as long as I can. I have had lots of time to think about how death is so difficult, but love is so immense. If I can bring one tiny smile or one ounce of joy, then all of my hours of drawing are worth it. It is truly magical to see how art can impact people in so many wonderful ways.

The author's comments:

I have teachers for parents. From the moment I was first able to talk, they have encouraged me to learn, experiment, fail, explore, and learn some more. My parents taught me how to be curious. How to ask questions. How to delve deep into topics I like. How to get excited about what I learn. And, most importantly, how ‌learning never really ends. This project extends who I am, my love for helping my community, for art... I hope that this project could help at least someone in some small way. 

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