Monday, August 28, 2006

brr, it’s cold in here! there must be some mustangs in the atmosphere!

Bonnie was cleaning out her files and found this picture I drew our senior year of high school. I’ve compiled some notes to accompany your appreciation and understanding of this work of art:

1) If you’ve studied my later work (i.e. meeting-doodles), you will note that my style has remained remarkably consistent, but now includes more scribbly ballpoint shading and clothing styles ripped from Rent.

2) The placing of the subjects in this portrait is deceptive. There is no way to tell that the 1994-’95 varsity cheer squad was bitterly divided, with the somewhat nerdier, dance-oriented Cheryl, Bonnie, Kristy and Janell on one side, and the more popular, football-player-oriented Gina, Sara, Hillary and Michelle on the other. I was particularly resentful of Hillary (though I’m sure she’s grown into a kind and lovely adult, damn her), so it’s odd that I drew myself next to her. There are several possible explanations for this.

a. The picture was drawn at the beginning of the school year, when I was still full of youthful optimism that this squad would win competitions instead of engage in petty infighting, even though previous experience on drill team and JV cheer suggested otherwise.

b. Suspecting that others suspected my dislike of Hillary, I overcompensated, going so far as to draw myself with my arms raised excitedly, as if there were nowhere I’d rather be than next to the girl who barely spoke two words to me the entire year.

c. I was secretly in love with Hillary, and the picture represents my subconscious desires. But I don’t think so.

3) This piece was created during my Pentel Marker Period. The pinky-peach marker got a lot of use because Mira Costa High School was reaaally white. Interestingly enough, my illustrations for the official Key Club scrapbook, which featured fictional Key Clubbers performing such crucial acts of community service as selling hot dogs at the Old Hometown Fair, were much more diverse.

Key Club, which had 100-plus members, was certainly more diverse than the cheer squad, but not that much more. Again, I think wishful thinking may have influenced my art. Or perhaps, at age 17, I had spent a lot of time studying college brochures, which, no matter how white the school, featured a virtual U.N. of smiling students in their marketing materials.

4) Other influences savvy art historians will note include:

  • Garfield cartoons
  • varsity jacket lettering
  • Bonnie Graham’s troll drawings of the mid-‘80s
  • a guide to doing fancy lettering that was available through Scholastic books, again in the mid-‘80s
  • the clean lines and exaggerated uniformity of actual cheer moves, including The High V, The Raised Fist, The Toe-Touch Prep and The Ready-Hit-It Hands-On-Hips


Claire said...

I think it's 2b. Note how Hillary's raised foot distances you from the group. If not for her, you could've had a more symmetrical looking group.

And clearly, if you were secretly in love with anyone, it was Gina because you're the only two graced with pom-poms. ;)

jenny said...

OMG - Claire totally stole my psychoanalysis of this drawing! It's so true - you both had the poms. Poms mean L-O-V-E. It's so clear.

And the eyes are 100% Garfield - sweet! :)

Schrodinger's Kitten said...

I agree on the poms front - You could have at least given Hillary a pom. Everyone knows you hate her because of that. Pom hogger.

Cheryl said...

Hmm, Gina was always a little too...well...cheery for my tastes, but perhaps the fact that we're the only two with poms does reflect an additional bond, because we were both on yearbook staff together that year.