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Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd, South
Fort Myers, FL 33965-6565
(239) 590-1000 or (800) 590-3428

ALYSSA BALADAD

EW, I HAVE TO GROW UP

Senior Project DECEMBER 2015

Becoming an adult is a scary thing. As a young person of the Millennial Generation, I find that my peer group has become accustomed to a lack of responsibility, and look to grown-ups for answers about how to be independent. We come from helicopter parenting and the “everyone is a winner” mindset that is so prevalent in our youth. But what happens when you have to be the adult and make the adult decisions? And what do you do when people younger than you begin to seek your advice? How do we learn from mistakes if everyone is solving our problems and supporting our childlike defiance towards adulthood? It is a strange space between childhood and adulthood, one that is filled with excitement and dread.


The work in this exhibition explores the several stages in the transition from childhood to adulthood. The imaginary creatures I have created are an illustration of various levels of emotional development and attitudes towards growing up. Now that I am on the verge of graduating and heading into the “real world” I am realizing that I can’t be a kid forever and that I will have to be the one to answer the hard questions: what am I doing with my life, how am I going to make a living, and who am I? All throughout your childhood and youth you get to test out different versions of yourself, and I think that leads into how you turn out as an adult. The creatures that I have made are a way to see how you are handling, or have handled, your own transformation from adolescent to adult. There is a sense of humor with these very silly and childlike creatures I have created, but it is humor that can get us through the hardest times in our lives. For some of us, graduating is like the end of childhood. No more school means losing touch with friends, starting a career and a family, and jumping into adulthood face first. It is a lot of weight to carry and I know I am not the only one having this revelation. So, why not end my childhood with a project that represents this transition?


These creatures stem from my childhood drawings combined with experiences that are commonly encountered while growing up. I have chosen watercolor drawings and clay as the mediums to tell my narrative. Each separate watercolor drawing was made in a sketchbook first and then redrawn on watercolor paper using Micron pen. Once the drawing is completed the watercolor painting is built up through many layers of thin color. Each ceramic figure is handmade in red earthenware clay using coil construction, and sculpting and modeling techniques. A layer of white slip is added to the unfired surface to create a white canvas, and I used various carving tools to draw images onto the figure. Once bisque fired in an electric kiln to 1728 degrees the drawings are inlayed with black glaze, finished with a unique underglaze treatment that resembles watercolor, and fired in an electric kiln once more to 1888 degrees. By combining 2D and 3D images I am literally combining my childhood with my adulthood for a series that explores that space between.