Bring It: Translating Complicated Concepts Through Art
Published26 January, 2023
Photo credit Laura Morales Padilla and Patrick Leung
Associate of Arts degree student finds connections among the puzzle pieces.
Puzzles would be far more interesting if they didn’t have straight borders and came with extra pieces — that way every time you finish putting one together, you have enough pieces left to merge it with existing or upcoming puzzles. Something similar happens when we encounter a new concept: we sort the pieces as we learn it, but the pieces can easily slip away if they’re not linked to the puzzle map we navigate with.
This is how I understand minds, as a large room covered with conceptual puzzles that are continuously changing, with a box filled with leftover pieces that may connect to new concepts or just remain unsolved. Sometimes it is tempting to put the box away and pretend to have it all figured out, but what art has taught me is that dismantling everything and surrendering to new possibilities is far more enjoyable.
I’m passionate about finding connections and all that comes with this process, especially when the connecting pieces come from completely unrelated places; even if the results aren’t good, someone had to taste many distasteful rocks until salt was discovered. Looking for connections helps me when I don’t have enough pieces to put together an intricate thought or feeling. Then, in the effort to transmit them, art drives me to process them.
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To me, art is about the countless ways to translate these mental puzzles into a language that speaks to the senses. These puzzles are not for an audience to receive as something to frame, but as an open set of pieces they can fit with their own unsolved compositions. In my case, I studied graphic design to shape messages visually, but since I started the Associate of Arts degree program, I’ve been navigating these messages through creative writing. Eventually, I’d like to combine both.
When I first arrived in Vancouver from my home country, Bolivia, I felt the pieces falling all over the place, just like the rain. Some pieces came from inspiring stories, some from new landscapes, and some I might be holding upside down. I have a lot of pieces in the unsolved box, but I’ve realized recently that I brought some pieces too. As well as looking forward to finding connections among the new pieces, I'm excited to see where mine will fit.