Crushed: An Excerpt from my Life Story

When writing my life story, I devoted two paragraphs to stories of times that I felt stifled. The first is from second grade, when my teacher told me to redo an entire assignment to fit her criteria for a dry retelling of the first Thanksgiving when originally I had crafted a creative tale about a pilgrim girl making friends with Native American children. The second story I included in my life story was about the time that the administration at my Catholic high school stifled the free expression of my art class by censoring the work that we did. Both of these events stick out in my mind and share common themes of restriction and a certain crushing feeling.

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This is the object I made to represent the two excerpts from my life story. I ran through many ideas that had to do with being stifled and landed on this one: a crushed tin can. I painted the can with chalkboard paint and lightly sketched replicas of the nude models my high school art class drew before being censored. I used the chalk to represent ideas being easily erased or shifted. After lightly wiping away the chalk sketches, I watered down some acrylic paint to draw the same sketches layered on top of the chalk. After my drawings had dried, I took a heavy weight and bashed the can so that it caved in and crushed. The can now appears small and dented.

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