I am Brianne Major; a Year 10 student immersed in My Personal Project, part of my final year in the Middle Years Programme. My project aims to promote recycling through art, by utilising discarded aluminium drink cans to produce a visual art piece representative of an easily identifiable cultural icon, Elvis Presley.
My project was principally sparked from my childhood experiences. Creating a mosaic initiated from memories of my nana and I, crafting small art pieces from meticulously arranged glass tiles.
Having a profound passion for recycling, I decided to create my art piece from pieces of aluminium drink cans, and then finish my piece by coating with glass resin. When considering a prominent cultural icon, a distant memory of my dad and I listening to Hound Dog and Suspicious Minds on full blast … and my mum yelling at us to turn it down, and then later, myself playing several of his pieces on piano, logically progressed to Elvis Presley being my cultural icon.
Beginning my Project was a discouraging experience. Taking approximately two weeks to cut, construct and glue just the eyes onto the board, the complexity of my project daunted me. My dad, being an artist, advised to me to keep going, insisting it would come together with patience and perseverance; after rebuilding the nose three times, I thought he was deranged.
Regardless of the challenges, I did persevere, and I could begin to see the face emerging from the blank canvas. I then became enthused and determined. Eighteen mosaic tiles in two weeks became 1000 in one week – I was up until 4.00am several days over the school holidays. I finished my project after 272 hours, cutting up over 600 cans into 4800 small pieces and using over 10,000 glue dots. It was backbreaking, figuratively and literally, but I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.
If you told me a year ago that I would make a mosaic Elvis Presley from nearly 5000 pieces of cut aluminium can, I would not have believed you. The personal project has truly shown me that if you put your mind to it, and through patience and perseverance you can accomplish anything; an invaluable life lesson especially entering Year 11 next year. I am so excited to share my art piece with the Somerset community, to see the application of my acquired skills in the future and to never see another soft drink can again!
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