“The Weigh We Live,” Maria Pappas (2016) — Inquiry 4


Dear Viewer,

The idea of a remix on one of our inquiries filled me with excitement. I absolutely love scrapbooking, crafts, and overall employing creativity to convey a greater message. I chose to remix my third inquiry on veganism. I decided to focus on one category of veganism: the consumption of animal products. I pulled my central argument from inquiry three- “a meal is not worth a life,” and created an image to convey this message. I also wanted to include the imbalance of perspectives in our society. For this project, I did not rethink my audience, but I did try to communicate a complex, emotional message in a simple manner on a single canvas.

Every element to my remix was thoroughly analyzed numerous times. To begin, the canvas. I chose a canvas as opposed to a poster or a single image created online for two reasons. One, the canvas is often associated with art. I consider my remix a piece of art-powerful and expressive. Second, a canvas has a strong base and is not flimsy. We, as Americans, are not weak and often create strong bases and foundations of morals for our children and ourselves. The color of the canvas is black. Yes, black is symbolic of depression and fear, but it is also the color of mystery and the unknown. This is symbolic of the mystery behind animal agriculture.

From the start, I knew I wanted to create a weighted scale or uneven balance to communicate the power of our actions and lifestyles. The scale highlights our priorities in America. Because I am not as educated on the lifestyles of members of other countries, I chose to focus on the United States. I decided to include two eyes for the bases of the scales to symbolize two perspectives in our country. Although there are obviously more than two, there are two main perspectives I wanted to communicate to the audience. One eye is bigger than the other to stress the perspective of most of American culture. Both eyes, are surrounded by different material (scenes of scrapbook). As human beings, living creatures, we all want happiness, serenity, and freedom. I chose to have the center of the scale a cut out of America to symbolize we are all part of something greater. By living in this country, we are share a common trait. The connecting line across the top is the same for both sides. Both perspectives are connected as one to create the attitude of our country. The supports holding the bases, however, are completely different in structure. The bigger eye has a weaker structure than the smaller eye.

For the eyes, I created two collages utilizing pictures from online. The bigger eye has eyelashes made out of dead trees with a collage of foods made from animals. The smaller eye, a perspective not many Americans share, contains images of the actual animals. This eye is full of life and surrounded by life- flowers as the eyelashes. Both eyes have eyebrows. The eyebrow of the animal product eye is scrunched as if it is mad or confused. The eyebrow of the life eye has a relaxed happy eyebrow.

The red tape down the middle symbolizes the division between these two perspectives. The dots that construct the “nose” of this piece are unbalanced in color. The dots that form the nose are also symbolic. The dots on the right side-veganism are all the same color except for one. This symbolizes the shared viewpoint of vegans and their common goal of saving lives. The left side-the view of society consists of different colored dots to symbolize the different arguments and perspectives against veganism. On the top of the nose, the dots are the same color as the non-vegan perspective which is representative of the non-vegan majority in our country.

I chose specific colors for each element of my piece, but like any piece of art, the interpretations are endless. I do not want to tell you how to view this image, but rather provide reasoning for my decisions. You may be wondering why this canvas has elements of glitter, sparkle, and shimmer. Don’t judge a canvas by its appearance. Things in life may be metaphorically wrapped in a pretty box or sprinkled with glitter, but more often than not, this appearance covers a truth. I am presenting you what society has made us think; everything is morally correct and the actions of this business are justifiable. One must look into the “eye” (the I), to find the fault within our actions.

Although Inquiry 3 was challenging, I think this remix has been the most challenging inquiry to date for several reasons. When I began, I decided I wanted three things of the audience. I want the audience to take away such a powerful message without having to read a lengthy paper. I want the audience to return home and think about the image. Lastly, I want the audience to question their actions in daily life and their decisions to support animal agriculture. For this remix, peer response was beneficial. One of my peers advised that “simple is always better.” After this review, I refocused my idea and instead focused on the symbolism, not how many ideas I could communicate on a canvas. At the least, I hope this image made you think. Remember, education is key.

A previous animal product lover and now fellow vegan,

Maria Pappas