Junior Conceptual: A Junior Conceptual Project by Aaron Atkins (2016)
Click to read Artist Statement
Not a lot of the poem from which this piece is based stood out to me, and yet this piece stands out strongly to me in it’s embodiment of it’s predecessor. These larger elements prove themselves to be the bell and the ballet shoes, naturally. Building off a prompt of ''Pride through Dancing'', the bell represents pride in it’s graceful and beautiful sound as a result of movement, while the ballet shoes are more literal in their representation of dance but more vague in their representation of the small delicate nature (delicate to a square tip) of the shoes being juxtaposed to a metal giant, and held to the skin of it.
The process of creating this piece began with the staging of two objects unlikely to have been placed in such a position organically. The ballet shoes I found were once a Christmas ornament given to my sister at a young age, she would later go on to become a world class dancer. This familial relevance struck me. I brought this trinket to my French class, where there happened to be an especially shiny bell on the desk of one of my favorite teachers. Gently hanging the shoes onto the bell was the final step of this process. The biggest hurdle in the creation of this piece was easily the understanding of how I could manipulate the elements of props to have a deeper conceptual meaning than simply thinking, ''Where could I go to see something poetic happen?'' A shift from the organic, if you will. This opened the door for me to experiment more in narrative, as opposed to spontaneity, similar to the action of dancing.