The Crayola Trojan

January 20, 2009
By Yuan Ting Deng, Belize City, ZZ

PROMPT: The 18th century French philosopher Denis Diderot said, “Only passions, great passions can elevate the soul to great things.” Describe one of your passions and reflect on how it has contributed to your personal growth.

When I was a little girl, my pack of 24 bright Crayola crayons was the most precious thing I had. They shaped the perimeters of my chairs, dogs, hearts and flowers that I had learned to draw after watching Blue’s Clues. They transformed the black and white pages of my coloring books into a world of color and sometimes, much to my mother’s dismay, the boring white walls that surrounded me. Coloring made me content and at peace. It was the starting point of my art life.

This simple pleasure of coloring has since then grown into a boundless passion for many different forms of art. Though I have not had much formal art classes due to the lack of opportunities in Belize, I love to draw and have a knack for duplicating images of objects or people onto paper. My logic is that if the ingenious light-capturing machine, the camera, was able to portray these objects and people as an image captured on a 2-dimensional leaf, then certainly I can also with the appropriate shadings and lines. With that mentality, I am able to translate the 3-D image I perceive into a 2-D one, and finally transfer that image onto paper using my graphite pencil.

I also knit, crochet, sew, and more generally, make. The use of simple raw materials that is found around the house to create artifacts that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional like a scarf or a handmade doll that I gave away for Christmas is the second closest thing to feeling like God himself. It can only be described as the warm feeling stirring in the insides knowing that friends and family will love my creation.

Art has made me a more resourceful person. Every unused bead, cork, cloth, or magazine is a potential element for another project. I look at my broken jewelry and I see the gems elegantly modge podged in my album. The empty butter cookie container on my desk is perfect to keep my sea shells in, just as soon as I add a little flare to it. And instead of discarding my otherwise useless jewelry and containers, I patch them up and they are better than before.

Last Thanksgiving, my three aunts, four uncles and my six little cousins gathered at my home. While the adults talked, I as the eldest cousin was given on the task of keeping the hyperactive children under control. Equipped with a year’s worth of art supplies, I taught them how to make handprint turkeys and how to create the outline of leaves by shading over them. Art had allowed me to interact and have fun with my little cousins without having to worry that one would break her leg doing some other deviant activity. The best thing about this is the pride that glitters across their face seeing their own handmade art piece and the thought that maybe I may have sparked an art interest in them.

As I look toward tertiary studies at USC, I intend to further my interest in art by taking CTAN 102: Introduction to the Art of Movement. Having been to the football games with my brother, a Trojan alum, I know that the Trojan life will be an experience that will add much to the collage of my Crayola colored life.

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