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Self-Expression

Self-Expression – Voices

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“It started when I was in like fifth grade. My dad bought one of those compact digital cameras. I remember experimenting with it.”
Chicago, IL
It started when I was in like fifth grade. My dad bought one of those compact digital cameras. I remember experimenting with it.

Around 9th or 10th grade is when I started taking pictures on my phone. Now, when I went to take a picture, I’d want it to look nice. I thought the pictures I had were so cool, but looking back, they were garbage.

One of my friends had a DSLR. He suggested I entered a photography competition.

Because I had so much fun taking pictures, I thought might as well learn more about it. It was intimidating at first.

I got a super entry-level DSLR, but I loved the hell out of that thing. I spent hours learning how to shoot manually, all the technical aspects behind the camera, all the jargon.

The time came for the competition, and I ended up getting second place. That was definitely an ego boost. It was motivational.

Then, I got Photoshop and Lightroom. I learned what everything did, and began developing my own editing style.

I think right now, the thing I’m improving on the most is developing an editing style. It’s something that sets you apart from every other photographer.

I went through a whole overly critical phase, where I was comparing myself to people who were way better than me. I was trying to imitate them, but at the same time come up with something original. It was not coming together at the same time.

Some pictures aren’t perfect pictures, but they mean a lot to me because there’s something tied to that picture. There’s one picture that I’m really fond of. It’s not the greatest picture, but it’s the first picture that I took that I was proud of.

I’m trying not necessarily to convey how something looks, but what it feels like. I’m not a complete purist.

I want to have a unique, but also very aesthetically pleasing style. I want people to identify my work easily when they look at my pictures.

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Self-Expression

Self-Expression – Voices

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“I started getting into several artists’ work, such as Alex Grey, and I realized that I could put my feelings into what I was doing. I do abstract art so that my feelings can be visually observed.”
Salisbury, MD
I loved drawing when I was younger but, as I got older, I realized that I could do a lot with art. Portraying my emotions, telling a story about my life visually, etc. I started getting into several artists’ work, such as Alex Grey, and I realized that I could put my feelings into a hobby that I already liked.

I do abstract art so that my feelings can be visually observed. Art, for me, is very therapeutic and it helps me to understand how I feel. My art can also be used to work out my emotions by physically drawing and visually seeing them.

For the most part, I draw mandala style. Because of that, there is usually not a specific subject that I focus on. My various lines and patterns just change based on what I am feeling at that time.

I draw in my mandala style because I like to express my emotions in this abstract way. Rather than trying to replicate something exactly, my style allows my hand to flow freely based on my feelings.

I have thought about taking art classes to improve my expertise, but I have not actually taken a serious one yet. Even though it is not in an art classroom, I do show my abstract art to people who I feel comfortable with, like close friends or relatives. I do not show it do everyone since my work is personal to and for me.

Someone negatively judging my art is the same as them negatively judging me. So, I show my art to the people I trust. For example, I show my work to my family, especially my mom.

My sister used to draw, but she does not anymore, so I am the only one who draws now. When people do see my drawings, I usually get nervous.

I am basically exposing a part of myself by showing them an art piece. But, depending on the reaction of the person I show, I may also end up feeling accomplished.

That feeling of accomplishment is partly why I would recommend drawing to others. Any art form in general. I think it’s a great outlet for people who enjoy art.

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Self-Expression

Self-Expression – Voices

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“Tending to plants or even just looking at them helps me clear my mind. It’s a great stress reliever.”
Queens, NY
I like to keep plants. I definitely consider myself a plant mom.

I have a bunch in my house. I started with succulents because those are almost impossible to kill.

I definitely don’t have a natural green thumb. I’ve killed my fair share of plants.

I’ve even killed a cactus before. I’m getting a lot better now. I have about 12 plants in my house and they are all alive and doing well.

I just have to remember to water them. I also talk to my plants. I like to think it helps them grow.

I feel like I’m bonding with them. I give them names too.

I love having plants in my house. They clean the air and make my house look nice and lively. It makes me so happy to see all the life in my house.

Tending to plants or even just looking at them helps me clear my mind. It’s a great stress reliever.

Next spring, I want to start planting a garden in my backyard. I’m really excited for it. I want to plant a bunch of veggies and fruits that I can eat in the summer.

It would be so amazing to have fresh produce right outside my house. It would save me money, be good for the environment, and be a good outlet for me after my stressful days at work.

I’m trying to live more sustainably and I think gardening could help. Eventually, I really want to get into urban farming. That way I’d get to spend more time gardening and working with plants.

Plus, I’d be able to grow all my own food and be self-sufficient. I’m a long way away from there, but it’s a nice goal to have.

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“I never felt like I was truly being myself on stage or screen before acting in comedy.”
Los Angeles, CA
Ever since I was young, I always loved acting. Growing up in California, I admired the glamorous lifestyles of actors and actresses. I just found it so fascinating that they could transform into whoever they wanted to be.

They inspired me and gave me ideas for what type of productions I would like to be a part of. I remember when I was around four years old, I would put on plays for my family.

I would have my siblings and cousins play the supporting roles, but they never had many lines! As you can see from a young age, I enjoyed how acting gives people the ability to collaborate with others.

However, this soon was enough for me. I wanted to act in a theater group with a real organized cast. Soon enough, I was in acting classes and starred in many musicals and plays throughout my childhood.

I took pride in my work and took it very seriously. Acting in theater group also helped me expand and perfect my craft.

Learning from professionals who were so passionate about acting really inspired me to keep growing as an actress. Furthermore, I was also inspired by my cast mates who have become some of my lifelong friends to this day. Even though we all now young adults with busy lives, we still make a point to keep in touch.

Currently, acting is still a hobby of mine. However, I am not currently in a theater group and have strayed away from theater quite a bit.

It is not that I do not enjoy theater, but I found a such a profound love for comedy. Personally, I feel that comedy is very underrated and should be celebrated more in society.

It’s such a great genre that brings smiles to those who watch and those who act in the field. I first became hooked on this genre after acting in a comedy seminar around two years ago.

It complimented my outspoken and bubbly personality perfectly. Also, I never felt like I was truly being myself on stage or screen before acting in comedy.

This was never a problem for me though, as I loved portraying different characters. However, comedy makes me feel like I am truly being myself and expressing myself in the most natural way!

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