Exhaustion Personified in Paint

As the Junior Art Editor of the Fall 2017 issue of Élan, one of the pieces I reviewed that resonated with me the most would be “Wind Up Boy”. Stylistically, one can see how it can catch a viewer’s gaze. The artist very masterfully creates a face for the portrayed character, immediately drawing attention to the rest of the piece and its meaning. The color scheme and the position of the boy also work to add a layer of depth to the message. To fully understand the striking aspects that the artist is able to convey in this piece, it must simply be seen through its original medium, as I do not believe a recreation of it through words will be able to truly illustrate its traits.

Though the meaning may vary for others viewing the piece, I believe the most resonating intent to be pulled away is the idea that this boy keeps having to wind himself up again to function. However, considering how his key is in his back, I am led to believe that it is someone else he depends on to turn this key for him. In this, he is unable to motivate himself to be productive unless another he relies on keeps him standing and walking forwards in a thoughtless, mechanical manner. When all of the turns of the key are used up, the boy simply falls again in exhaustion. He possibly contemplates never standing again. In this, I believe specific image can strike many viewers in a meaningful way. I find this piece to not only be well done, but to be carrying universality as well.

I believe the reason this piece is so intriguing to me is because I feel I can relate to the boy in this period of my life. As an upperclassman in high school, I realize the looming responsibilities following graduation and the possibilities of further education. Not only is there a decision to be made, but there are also obstacles of others expectations for you and the thoughtless mistakes of your past holding you back. Currently, in preparation for college, I have found myself swamped in activities inside and outside of school. This is done in order to further accomplishments that may be listed on my college applications. Often times, however, after I work so hard on something with no immediate result, it can become exhausting to continue. Whether it be a supportive friend or a good coffee, I find that I am often in need of something or someone to simply wind me back up. This way, I can again continue on my way towards the future I want by using the mechanical methods the key dictates. Though I realize it is an exhausting way to live, I still continue towards my goals in life. In a sense, this piece reminds me of this struggle and the fact that it is possible to move through it. Though exhaustion follows all your ventures, it is rare that you are left without anything to help one continue moving forwards. The artist of “Wind Up Boy” ironically demonstrates it as she clearly worked tirelessly to create this image of giving up, reflecting an emotion she must have felt before or during the creation of this piece of art.

This piece can then, through its universality, possibly be able to reflect the states of artists submitted into Élan. Without the ability to be wound back up again and to continue work, we may not have made it as far as we have today.

Kathryn Wallis, Junior Art Editor



Kiara Blog Post PictureShifting into this awkward phase where I’m beginning to think about adult things like constantly being aware of money, yet I still laugh about the scribbling in the bathroom stalls is torture. I mean, that sounds really angsty, but it really is. I’m really disappointed nobody told me that all those high school movies are completely inaccurate, like me looking twenty seven at sixteen and definitely having my license by now (I don’t even have my permit).

It’s reassuring as all my peers are going through the same thing too, the constant emails from all these colleges and the mail from universities I’ll never be able to even imagine paying for. Then there’s the part where I get to laugh with them about dorm life and dating all over campus and no parents!

And then sometimes there’s those moments where I can’t help but feel absolutely alone when I’m looking at SAT and ACT registrations and when I’m wishing that my PSAT score was a little higher to offer some form of reconciliation. Mom of course says it’s natural to have these fears and I’ll get through it but constantly drowning (or more so flailing in open waters). Sometimes a boat will come by, offer help, and sometimes I’m an idiot and say no, and watch the boat fly off across the sea into the horizon. Sometimes boats ignore me, and then every now and again a boat stops and I’m not stupid and climb on.

It’s strange planning campus tour dates and taking virtual tours of dorms, trying to decide the rest of my life. I know all adults are like: you still have time, but cut the crap, we really don’t. It’s like, college is probably going to be some of the best moments of my life, but if I mess it up, then it’s a huge blight looming over my life and you can’t get re-dos, just, I’ll try to clean up the mess.

I’m just hoping I’ll get some awesome scholarships, and maybe a school will really want me to come to their school and debt won’t be a problem. I just want to get a job I love and pays amazing, but doesn’t everyone want that? Well, some people don’t but most people want that, and it’s in the form of that false American Dream or whatever people want to call it. But maybe, this end to my childhood, isn’t the end of me.

-Kiara Ivey, Junior Layout & Design Editor


(Chelsea Blog Picture)gal-sisterhood-12-jpgMany say that you will forget the people you meet before college, or even in college. They say that you will probably be able to walk past people you hung out with 24/7 in high school like they’re strangers. It is hard for me to understand this concept since I have had the same group of friends since I was a year old.

I met my best friend of 15 (almost 16) years ago in Pre-K. Before we knew how to talk or what certain words actually meant, we understood each other. It’s been that way ever since, even though we’re 375 miles apart and never seem to be available at the same time. When we happen to have share spare time, we talk and it’s like we’re in that Pre-K classroom again, feigning deep conversation.

I met the rest of my friends in K-4. We unintentionally bonded while running around the playground and pretending to nap. Nothing has changed, except now we spend most of our time sleeping at each other’s houses with one of us being forced to sleep on the floor while the rest of us try not to hang off of the bed. And we hardly ever run.

When I imagine my future, I don’t see a lot of concrete details. I see colleges floating in the air, and grasping majors. I see career opportunities rolling away like tumbleweeds in a deserted town. The only thing I can hold onto, the only thing real, is the image of my friends and I, together. I envision it as a Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants or Sex and the City scene, as something iconic

I don’t talk to my friends every day. I hardly talk to my best friend during the week and I see the rest of my friends about once a month. We don’t have a movie friendship where I have them all on speed dial. We don’t have the Disney Channel friendship where I can walk to their house in five minutes or less. We have our own type of friendship and I can’t see myself walking away from that or passing it up for anything.

-Chelsea Ashley, Junior Website Editor