When I was younger, my mother always upheld the tradition of sending off a balloon to my great grandpa. She would say, “when you look into the sky, and you can no longer see it, that means he’s caught it.” For my final project, I wanted to capture the memory of my fainted childhood as I fully accept my transition into adulthood.
I began by reimagining the narrative. There were many instances where we would send off balloons, the most prominent one was after the local county fair. I decided not to draw my surroundings. I wanted every time to come together as one single, representative ritual. I decided to have a minimal color palette, this was to show that memory, though faded, can still contain elements of clarity and preciousness. I chose to have gouache washes over the clouds and balloons because they were the most prominent elements of the story: I had forgotten what I had looked like, and I had no real memory of my grandfather in his waking life, I simply remember the color of each balloon as it faded into obscurity into the clouds. I wanted the gouache to have a tacked on effect. This was to show that memory is out of order, fragmented, and oftentimes, idealized.
I thought of the way I used to make collages when I was young. I would find the prettiest, most perfect images and slather them on paper. I wanted my drawing to have the same effect. I wanted the narrative to come from a place of heart, I wanted it to be autobiographical, but I also wanted it to remain artificial.