For our STEAM project, (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math), we were told to make any form of art through which we expressed our thoughts on a social issue. Our projects were displayed in the Bruce Museum in town as a public exhibition. My physical piece was about the importance of nutrition, and I expressed it through a board with two sets of melted crayons and two sets of gears. Each side of the board had one set of each. The front side was representing what someone’s internal body systems appear like if they are eating nutritiously, and the back side represented what someone’s body systems look like if they don’t eat nutritiously. The “good” side was a rainbow of melted crayons, which represented the full variety of nutrients your body needs, and the gears moved smoothly as one unit to represent the functionality of the body when it is given the right foods. The “bad” side had a smaller collection of duller, grosser colored crayons to represent that the body is not being given the nutrients it needs, and this side’s set of gears did not spin smoothly because they were clogged up with more wax from the melted crayons.
In doing this project, I improved my knowledge about chemistry, art, public speaking, and time management. I learned how fluorescence works, and I learned how to use fluorescent paints with a blacklight. I also learned how to budget my time between STEM, Design Studio, and working after school. Some of the parts for this piece had to be done after school when I had more time and space to work, while others were fine to do during class. Time management is one of my weaknesses, but I did improve greatly on that during this project. I have never considered myself an artist of any sorts, but I was able to use art through this project without having to draw or paint my work. I have virtually no talent in those areas, so being able to melt crayons and have the exact look that I wanted without having to do the work myself made it quite a bit easier for me. Also, I improved my public speaking through this work. I’ve always been good at public speaking, and I don’t typically get nervous speaking one-on-one to a stranger. However, I improved on my actual speaking because I have the tendency to use words such as, “like” or “um” when I’m trying to give a coherent speech. This nervous habit dissolved over the course of the exhibition because I got more comfortable with my explanation and it flowed much more smoothly as the event went on. Now I know that even though I am not a nervous person in terms of public speaking, I still do benefit from practicing more beforehand in order to sound more professional.
By expressing my interest in this issue through art, I was able to connect with the viewers on a deeper level. If I had written a paper, made a website, or used any other type of media, the issue of nutrition itself would have been less of the focus. For example, had I written a paper on the importance of nutrition, my personal writing style could’ve gotten in the way of the message that I was trying to get across. Since the project was visual and up to interpretation, it was not about how I saw the physical piece. Instead, the focus switched more to how the audience viewed the piece. Commenting on this social issue through my art helped make it more universally relatable, rather than making it about me.