In a Box “Reflections”

Next time you go out into a public place, look at your surroundings. Observe the people next to you. What do you notice? What is the definition of society?   For this project, we were each given a box, a theme and we were allowed to do anything we want to express our theme throughout the box. When I was given the theme society, I struggled to find meaning for this word. For me, society means love home, identity but at the same time, it also means hate, violence, harm, and fakeness. When I think about our society, my mind immediately jumps to think about my childhood. When I was around four or five years old I thought the world was perfect and equal. Then when I was older I was introduced to negative things in our society — kidnaping, terrorist attacks, violence etc. — and also inequalities – sexism, racism, social status etc. Now that I think of society I realize that it is not perfect at all. A society may seem perfect at first but when you are part of it for a long time, you realize that so many things are just fake and wrong. At first, there were so many ideas floating around my head that I didn’t know what to do.  I thought about judgment, beauty standards, race, sex, love, family. Then at the end, I decided that in my project I wanted to show the differences between what you think of a society vs what it is actually like.

The process of this project took a very long time. The very first step was to start trying out different media. I tried many different techniques such as Chiharu Shiota’s yarn style and Kara Walker’s silhouettes. The whole project was inspired by Joseph Cornell’s boxes. We started off analyzing different boxes and looking at how different elements of art are used. I really liked how Cornell used cardboard to separate the box and created sections within the box. I did this in my box, creating a V shape.

After we tried using different media and explored different artist styles we were given a theme and we began brainstorming our own boxes. Then we started our project. At first, I wanted to create my box around the idea of beauty and gender standards in a society. That didn’t happen and instead, I created my box around the theme of reality vs expectations in a society. I started off creating the spinning box of CDs in the middle of my artwork. In this box, you can see that one side of it is the shiny side of the CDs and the other side is the opposite side of the CD with burnt torches stuck on and some black paint. When you first look at my artwork you see the shiny side of the box and then you turn it over to see the dark side. I wanted to show everybody that When you first enter a society you may think it is perfect but soon you will be disappointed by all of the unseen imperfections. After I made the box, I hid a bit of a roadblock when I didn’t know what to make next. There were so many ideas floating around in my head that it was too much for me to think of just one. This is when I asked lots of my peers and we had our design plan discussions. I designed upon having a black and white collage of people stuck on to the back of my box to show differences in society, foam stuck in the shape of a V to separate the box into sections and also to paint the back of the box white, sides and bottom of the box black.

After I did all of this, I felt as if there was something missing in my artwork, so in my final plan discussion with the plan, I decided that it would be a good idea to stick shiny disks on the sides and bottom of the box. Great feedback was given to me by my peers and I decided to make CDs the repeated ornament in my box. I also felt the black and white backgrounds was too plain soI slightly smear some white on the corners of the black and smeared black all over the white background.  For the back of my box, I decided to spray paint everything black and stick with the repeated pieces of glass stuck everywhere.


At the end of my project, I named this box reflection because I think that society reflects who we are as people. I learned that no one perceives society in the same way but it is made up of different races, sexes, social statuses, brains and it is far from being immaculate. As we grow older and older, the truth in society is exposed to us. Sometimes things that happen can really burn you and leave you scarred.

I loved learning about different medias in this project and I definitely think I grew as an artist because I   have learned so many more ways to create art. This was a project that required a lot of creativity and I really think that I opened up a new way of thinking. My idea was really special. I think I have grown as an artist because this piece is not cheesy at all, I think the theme and the idea are very complex. Class time was used well but when I faced my roadblock, I did fewer things in class which is why after school to finish my project.

For this project, I understood the art world. I really learned about Karnell’s boxes and applied many of his specialties into my box such as putting one thing to the emphasis, repetition and creating sections. I also learned from many famous artists and tried their style of art (as I mentioned before) which was an amazing experience. This helped me broaden my vision because there were more things open for me to do.

I often envisioned my box throughout this project to clear up my ideas. There are numerous messy sketches of different plans in my sketchbook because I wanted to express what the box would look like. This helped me see if my ideas were actually good or not. Sometimes in my mind, I would think one thing but then when I actually draw it out I will realize that the idea actually looks really good or really bad.

Throughout the process of creating this project, there was a lot of reflecting. I would often judge my own work and try to make it better. Most importantly I would always ask my peers for feedback or constructive criticism to help make my work the best it can be. The peer sessions in between studio sessions really helped me think of my final plan. Some people especially were really helpful with inspiring me to think of new ideas.