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The purpose of this project was to test some ideas about what distinguishes fine art from applied art or design as well as explore ideas about expression and representation, both figurative and abstract. The first task was to apply black ink to sketchbook paper in a variety of ways without using conventional drawing instruments. The second task was to combine three mark-making techniques to convey a particular theme. After experimenting, I chose to use dominos, a toy pinwheel, and a balloon to apply ink onto the page; when combined these objects conveyed an experience that many people undergo: an anxiety attack.

My project illustrates the three components of an anxiety attack in an abstract, yet deliberate way. The first mark-maker was dominos doused in ink–but instead of knocking them over myself, I waited for the wind to knock them over, representing how the triggering of one’s anxiety is cannot be anticipated and is out of one’s control. The falling of the first domino also shows how something very small can trigger a big chain reaction.

This led me to manifest the next component–the peak of an anxiety attack–by using a toy pinwheel. At the height of this fragmented state, one cannot help but spiral out of control. I, yet again, let an outside source (the wind) be the guide for the ink placement. In the first and second components of my piece, the outcome of where the paint landed was not in my control.

However, this was not the case for my use of the third mark-maker, a balloon. During the comedown of an anxiety attack, the final step, a person needs to make a conscious effort to regain control. Studies show that a common method for recovering from anxiety is deep breathing. I incorporated this method by deeply exhaling into a balloon, filling it with ink, and letting the balloon deflate. The small marks on the top of the board are a result of me consciously spraying the ink from the deflating balloon.

The weight of the three components is amplified when viewed as a unit. The dominos are present at the bottom of the board, and as the viewer’s eyes move up the board, the marks become more chaotic, followed by the smaller sporadic marks at the top. This further illustrates the progression of an anxiety attack.

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