Over the last few years, I’ve been breathing, dreaming, eating and hearing art. The desire to make art keeps me up at night, and at times I even dream about it. 

"It [the senior art show] is the chance to show the entire world the artist you are and the art you have created."

— Joel Lara

For an art major, the senior art show is everything. It is the chance to show the entire world the artist that you are and the art you have created. One year ago I thought I had mine all figured out.

I was wrong. Thoughts came rushing in, and I began to overthink. I had a mental block that lasted an entire semester. “This is not good enough, you can do better,” I told myself over and over again. 

Finally I decided to take a mental break. I lived life and eventually came back determined to make the best out of my last semester. 

These are a few of the pieces I’ve decided to include in my show. 

“Four-way stop” (above left) is a mid-century modern sculpture made out of metal that focuses on lines and circles. It is an abstract way of seeing landscape architecture and a city layout. This sculpture is part of a three-piece series with a color palette that includes green, red and yellow — a traffic light! Exactly! Not only that, but these colors are also found in the Mexican Flag, thus honoring my country. 

Two of the pieces from this collection are currently being exhibited at the Carnegie Center for the Arts in Three Rivers, Michigan.  

The next piece (above), which I am especially proud of, is “Glorioso” (glorious).  It is a steel and aluminum sculpture that brings awareness and light to mental illnesses. It is the first of many still to come that surround the idea of bringing positivity to this issue, and offering a sense of hope to whoever may need it. This piece is inspired by a painting by Daria Petrilli. I took her two-dimensional illustration and brought it to life.

For my final piece (above), I used aluminum plates and cut out abstract shapes to create clouds and birds, which are a symbol of hope and life. The colors used on this piece are found in the ribbon representing mental illness awareness and suicide prevention awareness, a choice that was personally hard to make, but will hopefully bring attention to these prevalent issues in today’s society.

Mental health is a big issue in today’s world. Many of us struggle day-to-day and fight mental illnesses like anxiety disorders, mood disorders and personality disorders. These conditions affect a person’s everyday living and ability to relate to others. 

My goal is to create a series of sculptures that people dealing with mental illnesses can relate to. The intention is not to capitalize on the issues I experience, but rather share with others my story and my struggle in an optimistic, comforting way. We may not have physical wings, but we are capable of rising to the occasion and overcoming any difficulties.