Breaking Free — Third Place Winner

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Emily Ross | Home School | Gray, ME

3rd Place - Emily Ross, Image 2

Beauty cannot be defined in simple terms, as the meaning of beauty varies between each individual. However, most individuals circle back to a generalized meaning of beauty, settling on expressing the ‘true you’ behind the layers of society-driven examples: being yourself without any sort of filter or alteration to make yourself fit in.

Through extensive planning and underpainting, I built up layers upon layers of paint and ideas atop the canvas. It acts as a background for the sculpture element of my piece, showing a pair of mannequin hands puppeteering a pair of marionette handles which control a group of businessmen. The businessmen are all drab and exact replicas of each other, doing mundane activities that take little to no effort or creativity. Breaking out of the canvas is the representation how creative, unique, and different people feel: smothered by the pressure of today’s mundane society and expectations. All the feelings of these individuals are condensed into the body and mannerisms of one orange-haired man.

Ridding himself of his necktie (which is far too similar to a noose for his liking), suit jacket, and crisp white shirt, he has broken free of the grasp society held on him. Underneath the uniform that he’s forced himself to wear, is a bright patterned shirt – just the start to his individuality escaping its confinements. Atop his head is his bright orange hair, the only thing he could get away with in the dull, cubicle work he had previously. He would get dirty looks for its bright color and longer-than-crew-cut style. But he didn’t care. He was going to express himself however he could.

He was someone who wanted to attend art school (maybe even Marlboro College) but settled for a desk job to appease his parents, friends, and the expectations of society. But not anymore. Now, he has broken free. He severed the ball and chain attaching him to some no-name company and he is on his way to being himself, without hiding anymore. After all, being yourself is the most beautiful thing of all.

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