AP Art and Design Exhibit
AP 2-D


Holland Hall|Tulsa, Oklahoma
Dimensions: 8” x 12” |Ideas: This piece discusses having multiple personalities to fit in, each personality represented by a mask.|Materials: Digital Photography, an assortment of handmade balaclavas|Processes: All balaclavas and ax to establish through line for the series and show consumption in self-identity|Curatorial Note: One of the few high-level performative photographs that we saw this year.

Student statement

Cold Chinese food. Stale chipotle chips. Warm Strawberry Lemonade from this morning. These things sit out on a Friday night—after a long day of pressure.
It welcomes you home. It’s there. It’s honest. It’s “the Friday night leftovers collection.” The feelings you feel looking at your accumulation of overpriced consumer goods is the state of being that I attempted to represent in this image. With the collection specifically, my goal was to explore what these moments of honesty would look like as clothing on a subject… with this image specifically; I wanted to establish a throughline with all of the other subjects in the series (the balaclavas on the clothing line) and show her feeling of “stuckness;" showing the idea of needing multiple personalities to fit in, each personality represented by a mask.
But how do I land here? Why do I want to make these lonesome images… aren’t there moments of happy things, not just melancholy ones? I ask you now: who is to say this image is melancholy? Okay, I know it looks melancholy… and maybe the photograph's subject is melancholy. But, because I wanted to wrestle with the idea of separation from the external world, shouldn’t we ask what you look like when you zone out, wake up from an afternoon nap, or read a bibliography? What are those moments where you exist… When you are entirely you to a drab extent… And how do we capture that in clothing?
I tried to make my subject move freely around the area for about ten minutes, pretending to take photos the entire time. And then I would tell my subject to relax… And then, I took the first image of the day. And then, as the AP Art and Design student I am, I was forced to put writing to my words. Although I love to do it on my own, when forced or told to for a grade, I find trouble in it. When I was making my portfolio, I won’t lie to you… I wrote everything required of me at the last minute and didn’t even feel good about it when I clicked “submit.” But the one thing I knew I did in my writing was tell the truth… I didn’t want to make up any answer inconsistent with the narrative I was trying to convey.
While I’m being honest, I’ll tell you that I chose balaclavas as my storytelling method because they look cool. Once I realized I should put more thought into it, I found how versatile they are- how many different ideas and styles we can explore when making the balaclava. I’m not a seamstress or a fashionista, but I wanted the roughness of inexperienced sewing. It resulted in a look that I feel represents the human—I mean, we are, in fact, handmade. And I sit here now, eating my cold Chinese food, gnawing on my stale chips, and sipping my warm lemonade; after about a year away from creating these works, I write this the day that it is due, from complete honesty… Now it’s your turn. Don’t be afraid to take inspiration (mine was/is Willam Eggelson); after all, isn’t that what we are built on? At that same time, I feel that creating is about sharing ideas you want to figure out.
It is okay not to know.
This piece discusses having multiple personalities to fit in, each represented by a mask.
Julian Aaronson